January 24, 2020 / 6:36 PM / in a month

Louis Dreyfus plans fish farming, bio-energy in Chinese venture

PARIS (Reuters) - Agricultural commodity merchant Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) said on Friday it will develop aquaculture and plant-based energy production as part of an industrial joint venture in China.

The partnership with Donlink Group to create a food industry park near the southern port of Nansha marks a further diversification by LDC in China after agreements last year with retail chain Luckin Coffee covering coffee roasting and juice distribution.

The Nansha project will involve a total 7 billion yuan ($1 billion) investment and is expected to lead to annual production worth some 22 billion yuan, LDC said in a statement after announcing the initiative on its Twitter account.

It did not say what share of the investment it would bear, or give a timeline for the project.

The industrial development would also involve feed protein processing and grain trading activities, LDC said.

Like other global grain merchants, the 169-year-old family group controlled by Margarita Louis-Dreyfus has been trying to develop food processing activities in response to declining margins for sourcing and shipping staple crops.

LDC also launched late last year a cost-cutting program following a drop in profit it blamed on international trade tensions and the impact of a pig disease epidemic in China.

($1 = 6.9040 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Gus Trompiz; editing by David Evans

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