Louis Dreyfus Company

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Louis Dreyfus Company B.V.
TypeSubsidiary (B.V.). Private
GenreAgriculture, Food processing, Transportation
Founded1851; 172 years ago (1851)
FounderLéopold Louis-Dreyfus
Area served
Worldwide (operations in 100+ countries)
Key people
Margarita Louis-Dreyfus (Chairman)
Michel Demaré (Deputy Chairman)
Michael Gelchie (CEO)
Michael Gelchie (COO)
ProductsOilseeds, grains, juice, fertilisers, cotton, sugar, rice, coffee, dairy, metals, etc.
ServicesFreight, finance, etc.
  • DecreaseUS$36.5 billion (FY2018)
US$1, 048 million (FY2018)
US$357 million (FY2018)
US$317 million (FY2017)
Total assetsUS$18.4 billion (FY2018)
Total equityUS$5,034 million (FY2018)
OwnerADQ (45%)
Number of employees
22,000+ (FY2015)
ParentLouis Dreyfus Holding B.V.
Footnotes / references
Financial highlights 2018

Louis Dreyfus Company B.V. (LDC), also called the Louis-Dreyfus Group, is a French merchant firm that is involved in agriculture, food processing, international shipping, and finance. The company owns and manages hedge funds, ocean vessels, develops and operates telecommunications infrastructures, and it is also involved in real estate development, management and ownership.[1] Along with Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, and Cargill, the Louis-Dreyfus Group is one of the four "ABCD" companies that dominate world agricultural commodity trading.[2]

The company makes up about 10% of the world's agricultural product trade flows, and is the world's largest cotton and rice trader.[3] It is also regarded by many as the second-largest player in the world's sugar market.[4] LDC Metals expanded to become the world's third biggest trader of copper, zinc and lead concentrate, behind only Glencore and Trafigura.[5]

Louis Dreyfus Company has its head office in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The company's parent, Louis Dreyfus Holding B.V., has its headquarters at the World Trade Center in Amsterdam. Louis Dreyfus companies are present in more than 100 countries, with 72 offices. Major offices are located in Geneva, London, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Paris, São Paulo, Singapore, New York City and Connecticut.[6]

Aggregate average annual gross sales in recent years have exceeded US$120 billion. The company employs more than 22,000 people globally at peak season.


In 1851, the company was founded in the Alsace region of France by Léopold Dreyfus, the 18-year-old Alsatian Ashkenazi Jewish son of a farmer from Sierentz, under the name of his father, Louis Dreyfus. Léopold purchased wheat from local farmers in Alsace and transported it to Basel in Switzerland, 13 kilometres (8 mi) away.[7] Léopold developed a fortune whilst still a teenager through cross border cereal trading. He rapidly diversified across shipping, weapons manufacturing, agriculture, oil and banking, thus establishing one of the wealthiest dynasties in Europe.[8] His descendants still own the company to this day. By the early 20th century, the Louis-Dreyfus family was described as one of the "top five biggest fortunes of France".

Confiscations during the Nazi era[edit]

The family being Jewish, during the Second World War much of the family assets were confiscated by the Vichy government and some members of the family fled to America.[9] In 1941 a temporary non-Jewish administrator was appointed to run the Louis Dreyfus Corn Dealers company.[10]


Léopold Louis-Dreyfus's great-grandson, Gérard Louis-Dreyfus, was chairman of Louis Dreyfus Energy Services, a subsidiary of the group involved in crude-oil trading, gas investments and infrastructure. Gérard is also the father of American actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Another branch of the dynasty, based in Paris, was headed by Robert Louis-Dreyfus (who was also the CEO of Adidas) until his death in 2009. It is currently overseen by his widow, Russian-born Margarita Bogdanova Louis-Dreyfus.[11] A third branch of the family's business is headed by Philippe Louis-Dreyfus (born 1945) and is concerned primarily with offshore industrial activities and freight shipping operations.[12]

On 11 May 2018, Louis Dreyfus Company sold its metals platform (LDC Metals, or LDCM) to NCCL Natural Resources Investment Fund.[13] The final price of the transaction was US$466 million.[14]

Tax dodging[edit]

A noteworthy case of transfer mispricing came to light in 2011 in Argentina involving the world's four largest grain traders: ADM, Bunge, Cargill and LDC. Argentina's revenue and customs service began an investigation into the four companies when prices for agricultural commodities spiked in 2008 and yet very little profit for the four companies had been reported to the office. As a result of the investigation, it was alleged that the companies had submitted false declarations of sales and routed profits through tax havens or through their headquarters. In some cases, they were said to have used phantom firms to buy grain and had inflated costs in Argentina in order to reduce the recorded profits earned in the country.[15] According to the country's revenue and customs service, the outstanding taxes amounted to almost US$1 billion.[16] The companies involved have denied the allegations. To date, the Argentinian tax authorities have not replied to the Swiss NGO Public Eye’s request regarding the current state of the case.[17] In its 2018 annual report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bunge mentioned provisions which suggest that the case is still ongoing: "[A]s of December 31, 2018, Bunge's Argentine subsidiary had received income tax assessments relating to 2006 through 2009 of approximately 1,276 million Argentine pesos (approximately $34 million), plus applicable interest on the outstanding amount of approximately 4,246 million Argentine pesos (approximately $113 million)."[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Groupe Louis Dreyfus S.A. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Groupe Louis Dreyfus S.A." Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Reuters". Reuters. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Bloomberg". Bloomberg. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  4. ^ "reuters". Reuters. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  5. ^ Hume, Neil; Terazono, Emiko (28 June 2017). "FinancialTimes". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2022-12-11. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Louis Dreyfus". Intern Here. Archived from the original on 2015-04-13. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Louis Dreyfus Company :: Our heritage". www.ldcom.com. Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  8. ^ Saatchi & Saatchi: The Inside Story, By Alison Fendley, page 100, Arcade Publishing, 8 October 1996
  9. ^ The History of Foreign Investment in the United States, 1914-1945, Harvard University Press, 2004, By Mira Wilkins, page 479
  10. ^ "82 Famous Jewish Concerns Get 'temporary Managers' in Occupied France". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 1941-02-24. Retrieved 2022-02-21.
  11. ^ Bermant, Yoel (28 April 2013). "Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, Head of Louis Dreyfus Holdings, Is Winning the Battle to Keep the Company in Family Hands". Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Board of Advisors". London International Shipping Week. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Louis Dreyfus Company completes the sale of its global Metals business to NCCL Natural Resources Investment Fund". LDC.com. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Progress of purchase of LDCM" (PDF) (in Chinese). chinamoly.com. 12 May 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  15. ^ Lawrence, Felicity (2011-06-01). "Argentina accuses world's largest grain traders of huge tax evasion". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  16. ^ Bloomberg (2013-03-25). "Grain Exporters Owe Argentina 951 Million in Taxes". Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  17. ^ Public Eye (June 2019). "Aricultural Commodity Traders in Switzerland" (PDF). Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  18. ^ "Bunge Ltd (BG) 10K Annual Reports & 10Q SEC Filings". Last10K. Retrieved 2019-08-01.

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