Home Commodities Hartree Is in Talks to Buy Commodity Trader ED&F Man

Hartree Is in Talks to Buy Commodity Trader ED&F Man

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(Bloomberg) — ED&F Man, a storied UK commodities trader that traces its history back more than 240 years, is in talks to be taken over by US energy firm Hartree Partners LP, according to people familiar with the matter.

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A potential deal would come after Hartree bought a significant amount of ED&F Man’s more than $1 billion in debt, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Discussions between Hartree, founded by ex-Goldman Sachs Group Inc. energy traders, and ED&F Man are ongoing and no final decision has been made, the people said.

An acquisition would see one of the most historic names in commodity trading being swallowed up by a relative newcomer, the latest sign of how bonanza energy trading profits of the past few years are reshaping the industry.

ED&F Man, best known for hauling sugar and coffee around the world, last year said it received “several unsolicited approaches.” The London-based trader referred to a previous statement saying it’s business as usual but the “board has a duty to consider what is in the best interests of all stakeholders and that is what it is doing.” The company declined to comment further.

Hartree declined to comment.

Energy traders including Hartee have been expanding into other commodity markets after making more money than ever in the past few years. The company, previously known as Hetco, has in recent years invested in a rapidly growing metals business and hired some traders to deal in agriculture derivatives.

ED&F Man, which traces its history to 1783 and used to supply rum to the Royal Navy, has been restructured in recent years, having sold non-core and under-performing assets, including its shipping and brokerage business and sugar mills in Mexico. In 2022, the company got the green light to ring-fence its commodities business and extended its debt beyond 2025.

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