Abu Dhabi fund boosts food security with $800m Louis Dreyfus deal

Abu Dhabi fund boosts food security with $800m Louis Dreyfus deal
Louis Dreyfus (LDC), a 169-year-old family-owned group, is controlled by billionaire Margarita Louis-Dreyfus. (AFP)
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Updated 11 November 2020

Abu Dhabi fund boosts food security with $800m Louis Dreyfus deal

Abu Dhabi fund boosts food security with $800m Louis Dreyfus deal
  • ADQ to acquire a major stake in Louis Dreyfus (LDC) as part of an $800 million investment in the commodity trader
  • The deal comes as the coronavirus pandemic re-focuses attention on food security among Gulf states

LONDON: Abu Dhabi-based ADQ has agreed to acquire a major stake in Louis Dreyfus (LDC) as part of an $800 million investment in the commodity trader.
The deal comes as the coronavirus pandemic re-focuses attention on food security among Gulf states which rely heavily on imports.
It also opens up the 169-year-old family-owned group that is controlled by billionaire Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, to major outside investment for the first time.
As part of this transaction, Louis Dreyfus also signed a long-term supply deal with ADQ for the sale of agri-commodities to the UAE.
LDC is one of the big four global commodity trading houses, posting profits of $126 million in the first half of the year.
Upon completion of the transaction, a portion of its proceeds amounting to a minimum of $800 million will be invested into LDC, ADQ said in a statement on Wednesday.
The acquisition price was not disclosed.
“Food and agriculture is an attractive, core sector for ADQ to generate financial returns and strengthen the economic cluster locally,” said ADQ CEO Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi. “As one of the world’s leading agri-commodities and food companies, LDC represents a strategic investment opportunity for ADQ.”
This latest investment expands the Abu Dhabi investment group’s agricultural portfolio which includes the recently formed Silal that aims to boost local food production in the UAE and Agthia, one of the region’s biggest food and beverage producers.
Earlier this year, ADQ also agreed to acquire 50 percent of Al Dahra Holdings, a multinational agribusiness group specializing in animal feed and essential food commodities. 
“We are delighted to welcome ADQ to our shareholder group as long-term partners and investors, with a common vision for LDC’s future, and experience that will bring further value to the business and support the group’s ambition,” said company Margarita Louis-Dreyfus in a statement.


German startup to help Saudi hotels utilize empty spaces

German start-up NeuSpace, established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates, is now working in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
German start-up NeuSpace, established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates, is now working in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
Updated 21 January 2021

German startup to help Saudi hotels utilize empty spaces

German start-up NeuSpace, established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates, is now working in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
  • COVID-19 pandemic has brought slump in average hotel occupancy rates in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A German start-up established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates is now working in Saudi Arabia.

NeuSpace aims to assist operators in coming up with new ways to generate revenue from their empty spaces.

Anne Schaeflein, a co-founder of the Dusseldorf-based company, told Arab News: “For hotel properties still in the completion phase, we feel it is best to evaluate the perspective, and to diversify pre-opening.

“To be empathic to the existing (or planned) infrastructure and environment of the location, we run a feasibility study and look at how the space could be best used from an ROI (return on investment) as well as community perspective. Turning function spaces into day nurseries, delis, and bakeries,” she said.

Anne Schaeflein, Collaborative Founder NeuSpace. (Supplied)

According to the company’s website, it aims to address the needs of hotel investors, operators, and the wider community surrounding the property.

“We deliver quick solutions to retain some of the hospitality jobs, and add others, and offer attractive living space for communities, all within one to four months, depending on the individual projects,” the company said.

A report in November by global hotel data analysis company, STR, found that the average occupancy rate in Saudi Arabia was 34.7 percent, down 38.7 percent on the previous year. As a result, the average revenue per available room fell 35.5 percent year-on-year to SR172.70 ($46.05).

Looking to the future, real estate consultancy firm, Colliers International, has forecast that average occupancy rates in Riyadh and Alkhobar will be 55 percent, 51 percent in Jeddah and Madinah, and 37 percent in Makkah.

On innovative solutions, Schaeflein said the startup’s concept was formed around the key pillars of value preservation, creating new housing space, and innovative housing concepts.

She pointed out that the company looked at how areas such as roof gardens or social spaces could be used by the wider community, or how pools and spas not being used by guests could be utilized by local residents.

NeuSpace also studies how back-office services and facilities could be offered to residents to better utilize staffing levels. This could include offering dog-minding services, turning rooms into office or retail areas, or renting out restaurant and entertainment spaces when footfall was low.