March 27 (Reuters) - Louis Dreyfus Commodities,
one of the world's largest agricultural traders, on Wednesday
reported its largest-ever annual profit on robust global demand
for food products and historically high crop prices after a
severe U.S. drought.
The privately held company said in an annual report that net
earnings jumped 25 percent to $1.1 billion in 2012, excluding a
$93 million loss in BioSev, the company's ring-fenced Brazilian
sugarcane milling business which suffered from low cane yields
and low ethanol prices.
The profit surpassed its previous record earnings of $962
million in 2010.
Louis Dreyfus, like its agribusiness rivals such as Cargill
and Bunge, responded to a sharp decline in U.S. crop output last
year by supplying its customers with products from other origins
such as South America and Europe.
"Our enhanced geographic, platform and business
diversification strategy fueled this historically high
performance and made the difference in a challenging and fragile
world economy," said Louis Dreyfus Group chairwoman Margarita
Louis Dreyfus accounted for more than 9 percent of global
agricultural trade after transporting and processing more than
70 million tons of commodities, CEO Serge Schoen said.