Troubled Swiss commodities trader to close

Company chief executive, Friedrich Sauerländer: "I had no choice" Keystone Archive

The embattled Swiss-commodities trader, Andre & Cie, has announced it is closing, bowing to the pressure of its huge debts. Its chief executive, Friedrich Sauerländer, said on Thursday the company has "no choice" but to go into liquidation.

This content was published on May 10, 2001 minutes

However, Sauerländer said the 123-year-old firm, once one of the world's top five grains traders, would as expected seek a further six month court protection from creditors as it winds up operations.

Sauerländer said there was no other option but to close down Group Andre, adding that about 100 employees remained at the company's Lausanne headquarters to oversee liquidation of the family-held firm.

The group, which has been saddled with debts of $400 million (SFr696 million), had been trying in recent months to cut back operations to reduce its debts.

The Singapore-based Noble Group agreed in April to buy the Asian operations of Andre & Cie for a nominal sum.

Noble was to pay Andre's creditors $64 million to support the operations of 16 companies that operate in Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Japan, Vietnam and China.

In March Andre & Cie signed a letter of intent with its United States-based rival, Bunge, that could still lead to the selling of all or part of its operations in Argentina.

swissinfo with agencies

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