Ravensdown sale confirmed

25 Sep, 2013 02:39 PM

FERTILISER company Ravensdown has signed an agreement for the sale of its WA facilities and operations to Louis Dreyfus Commodities.

Ravensdown made the announcement today with an email to shareholders about the sale to Louis Dreyfus, a leading merchandiser of agricultural commodities globally.

While it did not reveal the sale price, sources have previously told Farm Weekly the facilities were valued at about $25-26 million.

The sale has been brewing since Ravensdown first revealed in early July that it was looking to sell its WA operations.

“Given Ravensdown’s decision to exit the WA market, this conditional agreement will be a good outcome for shareholders, staff and agents, as it gives more certainty over the transfer of ownership,” Ravensdown chief executive Greg Campbell said in a statement.

“There are still some aspects of the deal to work through as part of the sales process, with the aim of concluding prior to December.”

In the context of the agreement, Louis Dreyfus Commodities will acquire the assets, resources and existing contracts of Ravensdown’s WA operations, in what constitutes the company’s first major investment in this region of Australia.

Ravensdown has about 4000 WA-based shareholders and employs about 39 staff and took over the United Farmers Co-operative business in WA in 2008.

Louis Dreyfus Commodities aims to offer its full product portfolio in Australia, including fertilisers, crop protection and at a later stage, seeds, in order to provide full-scale support to farmers.

Louis Dreyfus Commodities Australia chief executive officer Robert Green said the opportunity to acquire the Ravensdown assets in WA fits well with its growth strategy in Asia.

“It highlights our confidence in and continued commitment to agriculture in Australia, where we have been present since 1913,” he said.

Completion of the sale remains subject to the satisfaction of certain customary closing conditions but it concludes a long round of negotiations for the sale of the facilities dating back to August.

Louis Dreyfus Commodities has been reported as being actively seeking major agricultural assets from orange groves to sugar refiners.

Dreyfus is considered the 'D' of the so-called ABCD majors that dominate trade in agricultural products alongside Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill.

On July 31 the company announced it had completed its inaugural Eurobond issuance for 400m euros ($579.32m).



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