UPDATE 2-Louis Dreyfus seeks buyers for juice, fertiliser units -sources
(Adds market background, details throughout)
LONDON/NEW YORK/PARIS Dec 18 (Reuters) - Louis Dreyfus Commodities is seeking buyers for its orange juice and fertiliser units as the global merchant focuses on higher-margin activities, sources said, the latest firm to take steps to weather weak commodity markets.
The company had been actively marketing the orange juice and fertiliser businesses for some months, having appointed banks to lead the sales processes, sources said. Another source said the trading group was also looking to spin off its metals and dairy businesses.
A company spokeswoman declined to comment.
"They are recalibrating their portfolio... They are going back to the core and looking at where the margins are," said one source.
The vast juice operations - one of the world's biggest - include seven processing factories in Brazil, the United States and China, as well as orange groves in top grower Brazil and a global trading network.
In the competitive fertilizer market, the firm is one of the largest distributors in West Africa, works extensively in South America and has begun expanding in Australia, according to its website.
The search for suitors comes as the 164-year-old firm overhauls its top management just months after installing a new chief and seeks to cut costs after reporting a sharp drop profits in the first six months of the year.
Like its peers, Louis Dreyfus has been buffeted by falling prices and volatility that have eroded margins for trading commodities from copper to grains to seeds. Continuación...