Tereos shakes up its executive team as sugar market staggers
French producer hires fresh blood as the industry expects slump to continue
Paris — French sugar group Tereos, which is forecasting falling profit this year due to an industry-wide slump, said on Wednesday it had reshuffled its management team, including the hiring of a new CFO.
A surge in output after the EU abolished production quotas in 2017 and a 40% slump in prices since early 2017 in an oversupplied world market have hit profits at many European firms.
“The liberalisation of the European sugar industry, the rapid development of new technologies in agriculture and industry, the new demands of consumers for health and nutrition, naturalness and sustainability will have a structural impact,” the farmer-owned co-operative said in a statement.
“In this context, Tereos strengthens its executive committee to accelerate its transformation plan and continue its adaptation to these changes,” it added.
Tereos named Stephanie Billet as its new CFO, starting on June 1, to replace Olivier Casanova who is leaving. Billet was previously working at French cement maker Lafarge and had been involved in the merger with Swiss rival Holcim.
Tereos also said it had hired Philippe Huet to become head of trade, marketing activities and head of its sugar and ethanol trading branch Tereos Commodities, replacing Alexandre Luneau.
Huet was previously executive vice-president for Europe at Cofco International, the overseas trading arm of Chinese food group Cofco, and spent more than 20 years at US grain trader Cargill.
Cofco International said separately that Huet, who was in charge of the integration of the European activities of trading houses Nidera and Noble Agri, would not be replaced because the process was completed.
Tereos said Luneau will remain to focus on market and product strategy ahead of a planned capital increase.
In December Tereos, which last season became the world’s second-largest sugar maker, plunged to a first-half loss of almost €100m ($113m) and said it expected to be in the red across its full financial year for the second year running.
The debt-laden group also faces the repayment of a bond in 2020, though it said in February it had secured a loan for €250m that allowed it to repay half of the amount a year in advance.
The group’s poor results have prompted an internal crisis at the co-operative lasting nearly a year, with dissidents accusing Tereos of hiding financial difficulties, something the group has always denied.
Tereos unveiled plans in mid-2018 to open its business to investors as it seeks to expand, a move it has since said could happen in about two to three years.