Grain trader Bunge says sanctions may have 'adverse effect' on its Russian operations

Feb 28 (Reuters) - Global agricultural commodities trader Bunge Ltd said continued conflict in Ukraine and stinging sanctions on Russia could have an “adverse effect” on its operations in the breadbasket region.

Bunge and rival agribusinesses Archer-Daniels-Midland Co and Cargill Inc suspended operations in Ukraine last week after Russia invaded its neighbor. But none have stopped their business in Russia so far.

The conflict is threatening to further tighten global grain and edible oils supplies, likely exacerbating soaring food inflation. Russia and Ukraine supply nearly 30% of the world’s wheat exports, about 19% of corn exports and around 80% of sunflower oil.

“The continuation of the conflict may trigger a series of additional economic and other sanctions ... Any such sanctions may also result in an adverse effect on our Russian operations,” Bunge said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The West has moved to punish Russia by closing airspace to Russian aircraft, shutting out some Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial network and restricting Moscow’s ability to use its foreign reserves. A growing list of companies were looking to exit Russia on Monday.

Bunge has been scaling back its Russian grain trading activities in recent years, including the sale of its Rostov grain export terminal last year that has left it with just $121 million in assets in Russia, according to the filing.

Archer-Daniels-Midland did not have an immediate comment on its Russian operations. The company has an arm of its WILD flavorings business in Russia and owns a 50% stake in Aston Foods and Food Ingredients, a sweeteners and starches business.

Cargill maintains a far larger presence in Russia, with about 2,500 employees and investments of more than $1.1 billion in grain and oilseed processing, animal feed, poultry processing and other businesses, according to the Cargill website.

Cargill declined to comment. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago Editing by Marguerita Choy)