Three grain trading houses handle one bln euros in local deals

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In a farming sector where half of the tillable area is still ploughed by horse-driven equipment, three grain merchants – Alfred C. Toepfer (Germany), Cargill (USA) and Glencore (Switzerland) – handle hundreds of millions of euros just by a pen strike in their offices, daily Ziarul financiar reports on Tuesday.

Agriculture is considered the black hole of economy, but for these three foreign companies it means business worth almost one billion euros in a year with a good crop and high grain prices.

Together, the local subsidiaries of international giants Alfred. C Toepfer, Cargill and Glencore have less than 300 employees, but last year they ran one billion euro worth of deals with grains on the local market.

The three grain trading companies keep very discreet about their deals in Romania. „Last year grain prices were very high, by 50 pct higher than at present.

International traders buy from producers and in the next second they sell for a mark-up.
The producer is ‘harassed’ to sell right after harvest for low prices and has no other choice, because he has no storage facilities and conjuncture sales in Romania benefit the merchants.

It’s our weakness that made them great,” explains Culita Tarata, owner of TCE 3 Brazi, which grows cereals in the Big Island of Braila.
Alfred C. Toepfer reported 332 million euros in turnover 2008, whereas Cargill handled last year more than 310 million euros, with both companies doubling revenues from the previous year.

The two switched to profit only in 2008.
Glencore Protein, which has 12 employees, posted in 2008 a profit of 2.8 million, with each employee contributing 233,000 euros towards this figure.
At Alfred C. Toepfer, the profit per employee is about 65,000 euros.

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