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News 750 views last update:7 Aug 2012

Dutch grains trader Schouten Ceralco bankrupt

Financially troubled Dutch commodities trader Schouten Ceralco, part of the Royal Schouten Group, has filed for bankruptcy, raising concerns about possible glitches in European grains markets.

Schouten Ceralco, a grains and compound feeds trader which has been doing business since 1893, said in a statement the bankruptcy would be effective as of Tuesday 24 Nov. after it made the filing with a Dutch court.
 
Managing director Jeroen Rossy said it was still working on some solutions, and hoped to be able to give a further update within a week or two. He did not comment on the reason for the insovancy. It is also unclear how the other subsidiaries of the Royal Schouten Group will be affected.
 
Rossy emphasised that its Polish subsidiary is excluded from the bankruptcy. Sale of the Polish depot is one of the options.
 
Effects on trade
German traders said they did not expect supply gaps from the Schouten insolvency but there was concern about the processing of past trades involving the company.
 
"There are often string trades involving a series of sales between several companies and if one participant pulls out the entire trade will be stopped," one trader said.
 
Schouten Ceralco was involved in wheat and feed grain trading in several countries including Germany and the Benelux region, acting as a broker between consumers and small traders in country areas.
 
It traded about 2 million tonnes of cereals each season, mainly in the EU but also in the Black Sea region, according to a source familiar with the company.
 
Market players said that talk about Schouten Ceralco facing financial difficulties had led to position adjustments in recent days.
 
In Dutch law, if a company files for bankruptcy a court will appoint a liquidator whose duty is to sell off all the assets and distribute the proceeds among creditors.
 
Schouten Ceralco is a unit of Royal Schouten Group, which also has a vegetable oils refinery and other food, feed and bioenergy production divisions.
 
According to insiders Schouten Ceralco has been in financial trouble for a year. The company focussed on trading of cereals within the EU and aimed at becoming an important player by attracting high value traders. Costs had become a burden and had led to the insolvency.

Dick Ziggers

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