Louis Dreyfus owner rescheduled $450 million in debt due by end-2020

PARIS (Reuters) – Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the main shareholder of commodities merchant Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), rescheduled deadlines for repaying about $450 million in loans from Credit Suisse that had been due by the end of 2020, a company filing showed.

FILE PHOTO: Olympique de Marseille’s majority owner, billionaire businesswoman Margarita Louis-Dreyfus attends a news conference in the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille, France, August 4, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson

Louis-Dreyfus, who controls 170-year-old LDC through the Akira trust, had borrowed $1 billion from Credit Suisse in early 2019 in order to buy out minority family shareholders.

The debt burden of the buyout led her to seek new investors, culminating in a deal announced in November to sell a 45% stake in LDC to Abu Dhabi investment firm ADQ.

Louis-Dreyfus later told Swiss business magazine Bilanz she would use some of the proceeds to settle her debt with Credit Suisse.

An annual financial filing by Akira in the Netherlands late last month showed the ADQ agreement came just weeks before a deadline to reimburse several hundred million dollars of its debt to Credit Suisse.

One portion of the debt, representing just over $300 million and maturing in 2020, was rescheduled on Dec. 21 with a new deadline of Nov. 30, 2021, according to the filing.

On Nov. 10, the day before the deal with ADQ was announced, other facilities totalling $145.6 million maturing in 2020 were also extended, of which $45.6 million is now due by Nov. 30, 2021, and $100 million by Nov. 10, 2025.

The rescheduling means Akira will have to repay Credit Suisse around $350 million by the end of November this year, plus an undisclosed portion of a $200 million facility that had deadlines in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024, the filing showed.

In May 2020, Akira had repaid $200 million to Credit Suisse, according to the filing.

The overall value of LDC’s deal with ADQ has not been disclosed. LDC has said at least $800 million of proceeds would go towards settling a separate $1 billion loan the group made to bail out Brazilian sugar firm Biosev.

LDC, often known as Dreyfus, belongs to the ‘ABCD’ quartet of global agricultural commodity traders alongside Archer Daniels Midland Co, Bunge Ltd and Cargill.

($1 = 0.8135 euros)

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