December 22, 2017 / 3:31 PM / 6 months ago

ED&F Man reports pretax loss of $144.6 million

LONDON (Reuters) - Commodity trader ED&F Man on Friday reported a pretax loss of $144.6 million for the year ending Sept. 30, citing significant under-performance in its sugar and grains businesses.

The employee-owned agricultural commodities and brokerage group, established in 1783, said the firm had also incurred significant losses as the victim of a transaction involving fraudulent warehouse receipts.

The London-based company had reported a pretax profit of $101.9 million in the year to September 30, 2016.

In October, ED&F Man’s chief executive Phil Howell stepped down and the group has begun strategic reviews of both its sugar and grains businesses.

“The year under review has seen some of the toughest trading conditions in our Group’s history, yielding financial results that at best can be described as disappointing,” Executive Chairman Rafael Muguiro said in the company’s annual report.

ED&F Man’s coffee and liquid products businesses, however, performed well.

The company said debt facilities of $2.13 billion are due to renewal in 2018 and discussions have commenced with banks.

“Based on discussions with the Group’s banks and projected cash requirements, the directors have a reasonable expectation that the company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future,” the report said.

The company has businesses involved in trading sugar, coffee, molasses and animal feeds, grains, pulses, shipping and also capital markets.

German sugar company Suedzucker AG (SZUG.DE) has a 35 percent stake in ED&F Man.

Reporting by Nigel Hunt and Ana Ionova; Editing by Edmund Blair and Jane Merriman

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