Cargill sells petroleum business to Macquarie

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Cargill, one of the world’s largest commodity traders, has agreed a deal to sell its petroleum business to Australia’s Macquarie, the infrastructure and natural resources focused investment bank.

The sale of the petroleum business comes as Cargill, which is primarily focused on agricultural commodities, looks to streamline its business during a tough period for the sector. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“With Macquarie’s strategic focus and commitment to energy and commodities, we are certain this talented team will excel in its organization,” said David Dines, president, Cargill Energy, Transportation and Metals.

The move marks a partial reversal for Cargill from four years ago when David MacLennan, who is now chief executive officer and chairman of the privately held company, said he was looking to move deeper into energy trading as increased regulatory pressure pushed some banks out of the sector.

While some banks such as Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan have scaled back their commodity divisions, others – particularly Macquarie – have continued to expand.

The Australian bank is not registered as a deposit taking bank in the United States, meaning it has faced less onerous restrictions than some of its rivals, especially in trading physical commodities. It has become one of the biggest banks in the sector over the last five years.

The purchase of Cargill Petroleum will give it additional offices in Geneva, Houston, Minneapolis, Shanghai and Singapore. About 140 people work in the business with the vast majority expected to transition to Macquarie.

“This acquisition represents an exciting step for our business, bringing greater reach to the Macquarie platform and positioning us for continued growth,” said Nick O’Kane, global head of energy markets at Macquarie Group.

Cargill will continue to trade in other energy markets including North American gas and power, the company said, as well as continuing to offer financial hedging in oil and refined products.

The transaction is expected to close later this year, Cargill said in a statement.

J.P. Morgan acted as exclusive financial advisor to the Minneapolis-based company.

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