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InVivo Raises Stake in Toepfer Holding Company to 40%

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Union InVivo, France’s largest agricultural cooperative, raised its indirect stake in German grain trader Alfred C. Toepfer International GmbH to gain a stronger position as a cereals exporter.

Its stake in holding company Intrade climbed to 40 percent from 24.3 percent, Paris-based InVivo said in an e-mailed statement today. Intrade owns half of Toepfer, located in Hamburg, and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., the world’s biggest grain processor, holds the remainder.

“InVivo strengthens its position as a cereal exporter to the large region covering North and West Africa and the Middle East,” the company said, adding that it seeks to “seize the best opportunities to value the French cereal production.”

French soft-wheat exports outside the European Union may jump 17 percent to a record 11.5 million metric tons in the year through June, crops office FranceAgriMer has forecast. InVivo says it’s the largest exporter of French wheat.

The company said it bought the Intrade stake from German, Swedish, Austrian and Danish cooperatives, without providing financial details. Decatur, Illinois-based ADM owns the remainder of Intrade in addition to its direct Toepfer stake.

Toepfer, which has roots going back to 1919, and InVivo jointly own Gleadell Agriculture Ltd., the U.K.’s third-largest buyer of cereals from farms.

The German trader has annual sales of more than 400 million euros ($529 million), while InVivo had revenue of 4.4 billion euros in the year that ran through June, the French company’s statement shows.

InVivo’s grain-trading business had sales of 1.4 billion euros in 2008-2009 and handled 6.56 million tons of grains, according to the company’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net.

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