Louis Dreyfus in talks to sell equity stakes

(Reuters) — European agricultural commodities house Louis Dreyfus Company is in talks with investors about selling equity stakes in the company, potentially opening up the family controlled business to outside capital for the first time in its 168-year history, Bloomberg reported today.

Louis Dreyfus is seeking partners to buy equity and help it expand in fast-growing emerging markets, said chief executive officer Ian McIntosh, who wants the company to grow beyond its traditional business of sourcing, transporting and processing bulk agricultural commodities.

The company has approached Chinese partners, such as COFCO Corp, and its global trading arm COFCO International Ltd., as well as some of Japan’s biggest trading houses, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.

Louis Dreyfus and COFCO could not be immediately reached for a comment on the report.

The company said last month it planned to invest in the stock market flotation of Asian poultry and food company Leong Hup International as it looks to increase its presence in food processing and cited regional partnerships as a way to expand.

The company also bought a stake in Luckin Coffee Inc. as part of a U.S. initial public offering planned by the Chinese chain last month.

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