PARIS, March 21 (Reuters) - Louis Dreyfus , one of the world’s largest traders of agricultural commodities, reported a sharp drop in full-year profit and announced a new brand strategy as it tries to weather a market downturn.
Lower prices, large supplies and faltering economic growth have put pressure on companies across the agriculture sector, including trading groups like Louis Dreyfus that collect, export and process crops.
Louis Dreyfus’ net income, group share, shrank to $211 million last year from $648 million in 2014, while net sales fell to $55.7 billion from $64.7 billion, the company said in a statement on Monday.
The group has changed its name to Louis Dreyfus Company B.V. from Louis Dreyfus Commodities as part of a 10-year strategy called “Vision 2025”.
The new approach would involve giving each part of the business more room to define its own strategy, the company said in an accompanying annual report, without giving details.
A company source had said in January that Louis Dreyfus was ring-fencing its fertilisers and inputs, metals, juice and dairy units and is considering options ranging from joint ventures to the sale of certain assets.
Louis Dreyfus said its capital investments fell last year to $420 million from $592 million in 2014.
Louis Dreyfus has also been through a corporate shake-up under Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the group’s controlling shareholder who has reshuffled top management including through the promotion of former Asia head Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena to the CEO position last year.
Margarita Louis-Dreyfus has given birth to twins, the company said in a statement, confirming weekend press reports.
Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Andrew Callus and Louise Heavens