In an announcement made Wednesday, Louis Dreyfus and a hedge fund owned by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) plan to sell their energy trading business to a group of investors, including Paul Tudor Jones, Glenn Dubin and Timothy Barakett. The terms for the sale of the joint venture, LDH Energy, were not disclosed. LDH Energy is the eighth largest natural gas trader in the United States.
LDH Energy made $200 million to $300 million in net profit last year, and as per a report, the valuation of the business is in “the hundreds of millions of dollars”.
“We are excited to enter a new chapter of LDH Energy’s growth and future development, and appreciate the support and enthusiasm of our new investors,” William C. Reed II, the chief executive of LDH Energy, said in a statement. “We believe that with their fresh perspective and vision for the company, the prospects for growth at LDH Energy are tremendous, as it continues to expand its merchant footprint and grow its asset portfolio”.
There has been a few reported stakes sale in the sector. Yesterday, the Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ:CG), agreed to take a 55 percent stake in Vermillion Asset Management, a commodities hedge fund, with about $2.2 billion in assets, to diversify beyond its core private equity business. As per a report from Financial Times, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) also plans to offload a majority of its stake in the commodities unit to the sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Investment Authority.
The proceeds from the stake sale will be invested by Louis Dreyfus, a traditionally secretive family-owned group, in building its agriculture trading business. While the sale, from Morgan Stanley follows new regulations that would limit its ability to trade for the bank’s portfolio.
“As we focus our efforts on our core business as a global leader across major commodities, we look forward to maintaining our relationship with LDH Energy as a minority investor,” Serge Schoen, chief executive of the Louis Dreyfus Commodities Group, said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Louis Dreyfus revealed plans to increase investments by 40 percent over the next five years, and since then has been involved in the multi-billion-dollar listing of Malaysian palm oil group Felda, and bought Dutch dairy trader Ecoval. Owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus has dismissed the idea of listing the firm on a stock market, but market rumors persist at a time of headline listings and mergers in the commodities trading sphere.