March 27 (Reuters) - Louis Dreyfus Commodities, one of the world’s largest agricultural traders, on Wednesday reported its largest-ever annual profit on robust global demand for food products and historically high crop prices after a severe U.S. drought.
The privately held company said in an annual report that net earnings jumped 25 percent to $1.1 billion in 2012, excluding a $93 million loss in BioSev, the company’s ring-fenced Brazilian sugarcane milling business which suffered from low cane yields and low ethanol prices.
The profit surpassed its previous record earnings of $962 million in 2010.
Louis Dreyfus, like its agribusiness rivals such as Cargill and Bunge, responded to a sharp decline in U.S. crop output last year by supplying its customers with products from other origins such as South America and Europe.
“Our enhanced geographic, platform and business diversification strategy fueled this historically high performance and made the difference in a challenging and fragile world economy,” said Louis Dreyfus Group chairwoman Margarita Louis-Dreyfus.
Louis Dreyfus accounted for more than 9 percent of global agricultural trade after transporting and processing more than 70 million tons of commodities, CEO Serge Schoen said.