Cargill Is in Talks to Exit Global Sugar Trading Business

Thursday, January 14, 2021
Cargill Inc. is in talks to exit its global sugar trading business as the top agricultural commodities firm seeks to focus on food processing and meat. The Minneapolis-based company is in negotiations to sell its 50% stake in Alvean, the world’s largest sugar trader, to Brazilian partner Copersucar SA, according to a statement from Copersucar. Cargill deferred to Copersucar for a comment. The deal, if successful, is expected to be announced in the first quarter, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the information is private. “Both shareholders are discussing an agreement in which Copersucar will become the sole owner, acquiring Cargill’s shares in Alvean,” Copersucar said in the statement. “As soon as a deal is concluded, we will communicate.” The move comes six years after Cargill and Copersucar formed their joint venture, which is led out of a trading office in Geneva. In 2019-2020 it accounted for about 20% of global sugar shipments. While prices are now near the highest levels since 2017 as supplies tighten and investors flock to commodities, sugar traders grappled for years with bumper crops that depressed the volatility they need to thrive.
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