We have over 165 years of experience in this Region, our largest by turnover, and we continue to expand with investments throughout the value chain.
The Region contains one of the largest grain storage networks in Russia and Ukraine.
Louis Dreyfus Company has a presence in countries that represent 75% of the region's population.
This region is therefore strategically vital for our Group, acting as a central hub for the merchandizing of a broad portfolio of products originating from all our locations.
The Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) Region comprises highly diverse economies with very different business needs, models and challenges.
Agriculture in the region is a combination of developing areas, with strong growth opportunities, and more mature markets. As such, the region holds significant potential for our Group.
While demand for most products within EMEA is fairly stable, significant variability in local supply creates imbalances. Notably in Africa, demand for food is growing much faster than domestic production due to population increases, changes in eating habits and limited productivity gains.
These changes present a large array of opportunities for an international Group with an established presence in the region, an understanding of local dynamics, and the willingness to invest in infrastructure that will allow growth to materialize. Louis Dreyfus Company is ready and willing to rise to the challenge, leveraging a global distribution and marketing network.
We have a well-developed geographic presence in EMEA, with a historic understanding of many local environments and skilled employees. Our activities include origination, warehousing, processing, merchandizing and distribution, within the region as well as to and from other regions.
We apply a dual strategy of diversification and integration, developing synergies by broadening our portfolio and asset network, while fostering process and organizational alignment across our activities. Our in-country operating model is constantly evolving to best fit local business practices and constraints.
We have a multi-commodity commercial hub in Geneva, where most of our platforms have a global reach; for example, rice is distributed from here to meet the growing consumption markets of West Africa. Other global activities include sugar distribution, proprietary and third-party freight chartering activities, fertilizer and dairy merchandizing and non-US cotton distribution businesses.
Also in this Region, we are expanding our storage facilities in Russia and Ukraine to support our merchandizing operations in grains and oilseeds, and we have secured access to port capacity in the Black Sea through a variety of commercial agreements, in order to optimize our supply chain. Meanwhile, our grain elevators in the Black Sea enhance our origination network; they are used to manage product quality through drying, blending and segregation processes, and also operate as a logistics hub for the dispatch of grain exports.
In Wittenberg, Germany we operate an integrated facility that produces rapeseed meal, crude rape oil, biodiesel, pharma glycerin and lecithin. In Ghent, Belgium, we have a logistics hub for the storage and dispatch of various types of juice products for customers across Europe. In 2013, we doubled the volume of apple juice secured under tolling agreements in Poland and in 2015, we began tolling operations for a major biodiesel producer in Italy.
In Africa, we have consolidated historical entities and expanded geographically; for instance, LDC owns a 50% share in NWK’s sunflower seed crushing plant in Lichtenburg, South Africa, the country’s largest sunflower production area.
Our strategy in this area is expected to drive growth and diversification by supporting local teams in seizing development and investment opportunities. Proximity to customers allows us to offer a true multi-commodity and multi-origin offer thanks to relationships based on trust and expertise. It also means that we can effectively monitor and manage risks, and understand market evolution and leverage emerging opportunities.
Our growth strategy therefore emphasizes the development of local partnerships and a diversified portfolio and network of assets. We are extending our storage capacity for vegetable oil amid growing demand in Africa, and boosting our presence in metals and agricultural distribution. We are also investing in oil crushing and farming, and are setting up new lines of business in Zambia and Nigeria.
Throughout the region we have placed a priority on securing logistics capacity, partnerships and long-term supply agreements, in order to sustain our operations and consolidate our position as a key agri-business player.
Louis Dreyfus Company is a leading merchant and processor of agricultural goods, leveraging its global reach and extensive asset network to deliver for its customers around the world - safely, responsibly and reliably. Today we help to feed and clothe some 500 million people, originating, processing and transporting approximately 81 million tons of commodities annually.