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Louis Dreyfus Metals Unit Reports Profit Gain Amid Possible Sale

  • Parent company considers selling majority stake in LDC Metals
  • CEO of the unit says zinc trading drove the company’s results

Louis Dreyfus Co.’s metals trading unit reported higher profit on zinc trading and operations in China at a time that the parent is considering selling a majority stake in the business.

LDC Metals BV’s net income last year rose to $40.3 million in 2016, from $40.1 million, while pretax profit jumped 25 percent, the unit said in an emailed reply to questions. The privately held company, which doesn’t publish full results, didn’t give absolute figures for the pretax line.

The trader, which handles more than 3 million metric tons of materials a year, said it boosted volumes by close to 10 percent as its aluminum, zinc and China businesses improved.

“There were clear trends and good trading opportunities,” Paul Akroyd, head of LDC’s Metals Platform, said in an interview. "2016 was quite a dynamic year."

Founded a decade ago, LDC Metals has become one of the top five metals traders and the third largest for concentrates. Louis Dreyfus has hired Citigroup Inc. to lead the sale of a stake, the parent’s Chief Executive Officer Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena said last week.

Akroyd, a 25-year company veteran and former sugar trader, said LDC Metals traders had “good reads” on zinc and zinc concentrates in the year, profiting from volatility and price movements. The firm also “had the correct view on the import arbitrages into China,” he said.

In 2016, LDC Metals accounted for about 13 percent of parent Louis Dreyfus Co.’s overall net income of $305 million. In its 2016 annual report, agricultural trader Dreyfus said the metals unit “significantly improved its results” by successfully reading markets and benefiting from improvements in base-metals prices.

An LDC Metals filing in the Netherlands with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce showed “results of investments” fell 7.4 percent to $37.3 million from $40.3 million.

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