Margarita Louis-Dreyfus mortgaged LCD to raise USD 1 bln Credit Suisse loan

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, Chairperson of the Supervisory Board, Louis Dreyfus Holding B.V., pledged her controlling stake as security for a USD 1.03 bln loan from Credit Suisse Group AG in early 2019, Bloomberg writes.

The pledge, revealed in a corporate filing in December 2019, was made for a loan used to buy a 16.6% stake in the company from family members. In exchange, Akira BV, the main holding company for Louis-Dreyfus’s stake in the commodity trading house, put up all its shares as backing for the funds.

The steep collateral requirement shows how her ability to keep ownership of the trading house is coming under strain because of commitments to other family members and a downturn in profitability. If Louis-Dreyfus can’t repay or refinance the loan, Credit Suisse could take control of the 169-year-old business, which operates in oilseed, sugar and cotton markets.

In late 2018, Louis Dreyfus announced funding to buy the shares was secured, but the details haven’t previously been reported. The share pledge was revealed in a Dutch corporate filing dated Dec. 24 by Akira, a holding company for Louis-Dreyfus’s stake in the commodity trading house.

In the filing, Akira said that “on or about 25 January 2019,” it borrowed USD 1.03 bln from Credit Suisse in order to buy the minority stake from other members of the Louis-Dreyfus family. “In anticipation of the borrowing of the foregoing funds, the Company pledged all of its shares of LDHBV to Credit Suisse (Switzerland) Ltd,” it said in the filing.

The equity value of Louis Dreyfus Holding fell to USD 4.1 bln at the end of 2018 from USD 4.9 bln the year before.

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