Louis Dreyfus Said to Weigh IPO in Brazil, Selling Stake to Sovereign Fund

Louis Dreyfus Holding BV is exploring options that may include holding an initial public offering or selling a stake to a sovereign wealth fund, said two people with knowledge of the process.

Louis Dreyfus is working with Credit Suisse Group AG (CS) on its review, said the people, who declined to be identified because the process was private. The Amsterdam-based company is also working with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise on options for its Brazilian renewable-energy business.

The holding company, owner of the world’s biggest rice and cotton trader, has no plan to sell itself, the people said. Founded in 1851, Louis Dreyfus reported more than 56 billion euros ($77 billion) in revenue last year and 590 million euros in net income. Its commodities unit handles items including grains, cotton, coffee and ethanol, according to its website.

Chairman Margarita Louis-Dreyfus controls 61 percent of the holding company through a Liechtenstein-based trust, one of the people said. The company has in the past held talks with Glencore International Plc, the world’s largest publicly traded commodities supplier, people familiar with those discussions have said. The company has also negotiated with Olam International Ltd.

Spokeswomen for JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse declined to comment. The Financial Times reported earlier that Louis Dreyfus hired Credit Suisse.

Brazilian Unit

Minority shareholders own about one-third of the operations of the Brazil unit, which is known as LDC-SEV and valued at about $3 billion, the people said.

LDC-SEV, the unit that JPMorgan is helping the company review, produces bioethanol from processing sugar cane. It was created two years ago through the merger of a Louis Dreyfus unit with Santelisa Vale SA.

The companies said at the time of their merger that they would consider an IPO for the venture in the near future. Louis Dreyfus Commodities expanded in Brazil in the 1940s with operations in products such as soybeans, sugar, rice, corn, cotton and coffee, according to its website.

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