• Who We Are
  • What We Do
  • Sustainability
  • News & Insights
    News & Insights
    Press releases, stories, articles and reports about our dynamic business
    Find out more
  • Careers
  • Search icon
    About Us

    A Bright Future Born from a Single Grain

    From our company’s humble beginnings in 1851, the legacy of Louis-Dreyfus family leaders throughout our history continues to inspire us today. Our story is one of vision, hard work and innovation – a rich entrepreneurial heritage that guides us as we drive toward our future.

    Our Story Begins

    Léopold Louis-Dreyfus, a determined 16-year-old who laid the foundations for our global company, which he named after his father, understood early on that this business would fill a great human and economic need. His entrepreneurial spirit remains a source of inspiration for us to this day.


    Fulfilling a Human and Economic Need

    Léopold Louis-Dreyfus travels from France to Switzerland, a country with interesting prospects for a budding food production industry, to make his first sale of grain and establish his business

    The Promise of Europe’s Breadbasket

    Aged just 23, Léopold recognizes opportunities for higher profitability by expanding his range of commercial activities, and buys grain from Hungary and Romania to sell in Western Europe. By the 1870s, his company is one of the few to have reached a continental scale.

    A New Communication Channel

    The telegraph and transatlantic cable come into use in trading offices, dramatically improving communication between Europe and the Americas and allowing farmers to negotiate product pricing while their crops are still growing. As one of the first businessmen to fully embrace technological innovations, Léopold makes full use of these new communication channels, but also of the new railroads connecting Europe’s hinterlands with wheat ports in Odessa and Rostov.

    Going to Market

    The grain trade spreads extensively during the 19th century, with key markets developing in Liverpool and London in the United Kingdom, and in Chicago in the United States. With official authorization from the Liverpool Corn Trade Association, the company begins trading futures.

    The Next Generation

    Léopold welcomes his sons, Charles and Louis, into the company, introducing them to the business early on. Following in their father’s footsteps, Charles and Louis expand the business, seeking new horizons and markets for their products.

    Across the Sea

    Léopold begins to operate a fleet of vessels, all named after family members, such as Pierre LD and Louis LD. The fleet carries Russian crops and grains from Odessa to Liverpool and major Mediterranean ports.

    Handing Over the Reins

    By the time of his death in 1915, Léopold has received multiple honors, including Commander of the Royal Russian Order (1905), Commander of the Légion d’Honneur (1912) and Grand Officer of the Romanian Crown (1914). The second generation of the business, with Charles and Louis at the helm, now takes the lead and expands to the Americas and beyond.


    From Argentina to the World

    By the late 1920s, nearly three quarters of Argentina’s agricultural land is used for cereal farming. Throughout this decade, more than 1,000 company representatives buy corn, wheat, barley and oats from local farmers at harvest time, shipping them around the world to meet global demand.

    A Guarantee of Efficiency

    With grain now traded all over the world, and with coded telex messages exchanged by trading correspondents, Léopold’s company code Sesostris becomes a symbol of reliability among suppliers and customers. Messages arriving at the company’s offices are ‘flown’ from one floor to another through a pneumatic pipe system.

    New Ventures in the Americas

    The company enters Canada, buying and exporting grains and oilseeds to the world, and contributing immensely to a local economy where one in three people live on farms. And after four decades of activity in Brazil, a permanent presence is established in the country with the acquisition of Comércio e Indústrias Brasileiras Coinbra S/A, trading sugar, citrus products, oilseeds and coffee.

    Postwar Recovery

    Though not immune to the challenges of wartime, the company remains in business and, with the death of Léopold’s son Louis in 1940, his grandsons Jean, François and Pierre now take charge. Throughout the 1950s they expand our geographic presence, opening trading offices in Chicago, Winnipeg, Buenos Aires, New York, Johannesburg, São Paulo, Saigon, Shanghai and Bombay.

    Unprecedented Expansion

    Building on Léopold’s legacy and heritage, the company seizes opportunities to diversify the business in the decades following the end of World War II. Guided by a new generation of Louis-Dreyfus leaders, our operations grow to a new scale, laying the foundations for our long-term future.


    A New Leader, a New Path

    Passionate and charismatic, Gérard Louis-Dreyfus leads the company through a period of unparalleled growth. Understanding the immense value of partnerships based on trust, and capitalizing on arbitrage opportunities, he carves out a new path for our trading activities in a variety of commodity markets.

    Growth Through New Activities

    From the 1970s to the 1990s, the company increases its direct involvement in agricultural activities across cotton, sugar, citrus, and coffee, expanding origination and marketing activities, and adding citrus and oilseeds processing to a growing value chain

    Opening General Lagos

    Our General Lagos soybean crushing plant and port facility opens in Argentina. Today, it is considered one of the most efficient plants in the world and has made LDC the main national producer and exporter of biodiesel in Argentina.

    Expansion in the Americas

    From 1998 and into the new century, we build up our presence in Canada with a network of 10 grain elevators, and expand our presence in several locations in Brazil. Capitalizing on the individual strengths of each state, we add a coffee warehouse, a soybean processing plant, a juice plant and terminal, a cotton warehouse and several sugar production operations to our Brazilian portfolio.

    Rise of a New Visionary

    Building on the growth and success achieved by Gérard, Léopold’s great-grandson, Robert Louis-Dreyfus, writes a new chapter in the company’s history, giving employees advice which remains relevant in today’s complex times: “Look, learn, and then grow”


    A New Company Structure

    Taking charge of his family’s company, and guided by his own entrepreneurial spirit, Robert Louis-Dreyfus consolidates the company structure and creates Louis Dreyfus Commodities (LDC). Under his stewardship, the company incorporates three new business lines (fertilizers, dairy and metals).

    Toward Sustainable Soy

    The company signs the Soy Moratorium in Brazil, aiming to preserve the Amazon biome by reconciling environmental preservation with economic development through responsible and sustainable use of land and natural resources

    Opportunities in Europe and South America

    After Robert’s untimely passing in 2009, the company honors his legacy by following his expansion strategy. LDC acquires a rapeseed crushing plant in Wittenberg, Germany, which now also produces lecithin for food and feed applications, as well as pharmaceutical-grade glycerin, following significant infrastructure and technological improvements. In Brazil, the merger of LDC’s sugarcane operations with those of Santelisa Vale creates Biosev, today LDC’s sister company and the world’s second-largest sugarcane processor.

    Investing in the Future

    During a period of remarkable growth and expansion, capitalizing on favorable commodity market conditions, the company prepares for the future with major investments and strategic acquisitions to develop our value chain, business lines and logistics capabilities. We enter the apple juice concentrate market in China, purchase cotton facilities in Argentina and invest in our logistics network in Indonesia.

    Committed to Better Business Practices

    We make a contribution to a sustainable future by signing the United Nations Global Compact: a set of ten key principles for businesses that cover human rights, labor rights, workplace safety, the environment and the fight against corruption

    Building our Brand Portfolio

    Having established a strong presence in global markets, we acquire leading international dairy trading house, Ecoval Dairy Trade, and the US-listed Imperial Sugar Company, venturing into the consumer product segment with the latter’s Imperial Sugar and Dixie Crystals brands

    New Ventures and Continued Growth

    The company unveils an upgraded grain and oilseed export elevator at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, US – the busiest port in the Western Hemisphere. We also establish new joint ventures in cotton (Australia), rice (South Africa) and grains (Ukraine), and acquire Kowalski Alimentos S/A – one of Brazil’s largest corn milling operators – further expanding our local network.

    A New Name, a New Chapter

    The company begins forging a new way forward, with renewed focus on sustainability and on building strong relationships based on trust, inspired by our past as we drive toward the future


    Creating a Future with a History

    Guided by a clear strategic growth plan to consolidate relationships with customers and suppliers, the company enters a new chapter in its history with a new name: Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC)

    First Biodiesel Plant in Asia

    Building on our presence in Indonesia, which already includes two oil refineries and several logistic assets, a new biodiesel plant opens in Lampung – LDC’s first in Asia and our fifth worldwide

    New Milestone in Claypool

    Our oilseed processing facility in Claypool, US, expands to include a new glycerin refinery, LDC’s second worldwide. Since first opening its doors in 2007, this industrial complex has become one of the largest crush and biodiesel facilities in the country.

    Toward Fully Traceable Palm Oil

    Pursuing our efforts in sustainability, we become members of The Forest Trust (now called Earthworm Foundation), an international non-profit organization working toward sustainable value chains. Together, we are working to build and maintain high levels of traceability in our palm oil supply chain.

    Partnerships for Sustainability

    By joining the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), we are working collaboratively toward a safe and sustainable future

    Becoming the Value Chain

    Increasingly, we are adding more value to the products ourselves on the journey from producer to consumer.
    This enables us to leverage our focus on sustainable sourcing to respond to the need for a seamless, traceable and responsible value chain from farmer to customer and consumer, as we move downstream


    Focus on Core Businesses

    We successfully complete the divestment of our metals and fertilizers businesses, as part of a refocus on core businesses in our long-term growth strategy

    First Agricultural Commodity Blockchain

    Working with partners, we complete the first full agricultural commodity transaction using a blockchain platform. This lays the foundation for an industry-wide effort to modernize agricultural commodities trade operations through digitization.

    New Oilseeds Processing Capacity in China

    LDC invests in a new facility in Tianjin, building up our capacity to process protein-rich soybeans for animal feed and cooking oils in China, a key growth market for the company, as part of our commitment to grow with the country by providing high quality products that address the needs of its growing population

    Investing Downstream and Diversification

    Pursuing innovative, sustainable solutions to address changing consumer demand and feed a growing world population, we partner with key feed, food and nutrition value chain players to diversify further downstream, among others through a coffee roasting joint venture with Luckin Coffee, and an aquatic feed joint venture with Guangdong HAID Group, in China