The local branches of international giants Alfred C Toepfer, Cargill and Glencore have less than 300 employees together but posted one billion-euro turnover in Romania from grain trade last year.
Alfred C Toepfer's worldwide trading business amounts to € 8 billion, Cargill's to €3.3 billion, while Glencore's stands at €120 billion euros.
The three privately held companies are very discreet, however, and none of them wishes to talk about its business in Romania.
"Grain prices were very high in Romania last year, 50% higher than now. International traders buy from producers and sell right away after adding a mark-up. The producers are ‘harassed’ into selling the crop at low prices when harvesting it because they have no choice, they have no place to store it and the fact that sales in Romania are made as circumstances dictate gives traders an edge. We made them big with our weakness," explains a Romainian grain grower.
Double trade revenues
Alfred C. Toepfer, whose business stood at €332 million in 2008, and Cargill, which posted more than €310 million turnover doubled their revenues compared with the previous year.
Glencore Protein, with its 12 employees, posted €2.8 million profit in 2008, which means each employee contributed 233,000 euros.
As for Alfred C Toepfer, each employee generated about 65,000 euros in profit.
Local producers posted cumulated turnover worth 800 million euros last year, and almost €35 million profit. The total number of their farming operations employees stood at about 3,000.
The business of grain traders was higher than the results posted by the Romanian producers last year, as the former took advantage of the high prices and of the exchange rate trend, say the representatives for local trader Comcereal Constanta.
This company operates in the same field but does not do business with the big traders, which prefer to deal with producers.