November 13, 2012 / 12:36 PM / 7 years ago

Dreyfus profits fall in first-ever published results

* Secretive group start to open up after bond issue

* The group to pursue ambitious investment plan

* Firm posts 20 pct fall in profits due to bad FX impact

PARIS, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Agricultural commodities trader Louis Dreyfus said first-half profit fell 20 percent, in its first-ever published results, hit by higher foreign exchange costs at its Brazilian sugar unit.

Geneva-based LDC reported a $356 million net profit for the first six months of 2012, down from $448 million in the same period last year.

The drop was partly attributed to an unfavourable foreign exchange impact on its Brazilian unit Biosev, which the company failed to list this year due to weak market conditions.

The 160-year old company is starting to open up after it carried out a successful bond issue in September worth $350 million. As a result, the company now has to be more transparent towards its creditors.

Louis Dreyfus is the “D” of the so-called “ABCD” majors - along with Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill - that dominate agricultural commodity flows.

Louis Dreyfus said earlier this year it planned to increase investments by 40 percent over the next five years compared with the 2006-2011 period and has since participated in the multi-billion-dollar listing of Malaysian palm oil group Felda Global Ventures Holding Bhd’s and bought Dutch dairy trader Ecoval.

The group said it would pursue an ambitious investment plan despite severe droughts in Latin America and the United States.

Capital expenditure stood at $667 million in the first half of the year.

The Group also said it would continue to build its global network and diversify both geographically and in term of commodities portfolio.

Louis Dreyfus, a firm with French roots with its head office in the Netherlands and its main trading operations in Switzerland, has been expanding its core agricultural trading business and ditching other operations such as telecommunications and real estate.

Owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus has dismissed the idea of listing the firm on a stock market, but market rumours persist at a time of unprecedented change in the ways the titans of commodity trading are funding their operations. (Reporting by Muriel Boselli; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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