ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — Strong food demand during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a 66% increase in net profit at Louis Dreyfus Co. during 2020.

“The multidimensional global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic underlined the importance of LDC’s role to feed and clothe millions of people, and the significance of our vision to help shape a safe and sustainable future of food,” said Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, chairperson of Louis Dreyfus Holding BV. “I am proud of what we achieved as a group in 2020. Our performance and progress, and our agreement to welcome ADQ as shareholders, put the group in a solid position for the future, as we turn a new chapter in LDC’s 170-year history.”

Group net income was $382 million in 2020, up from $230 million in 2019. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) from continuing operations increased 58% to $1.32 billion from $836 million a year earlier.

Net sales remained stable year-on-year, at $33.6 billion. Segment operating results rose 63% year-on-year to $1.56 billion.

Operating results were up 76% and 44% year-on-year in the Value Chain Segment and Merchandizing Segment, respectively. Demand remained resilient for all the main products commercialized by the group, except cotton and bioenergy, as lockdowns affected demand in the textile and energy sectors.

In this context, LDC said it leveraged its expertise, diversified business portfolio, and global presence and network to keep supply chains flowing efficiently, reliably and profitably.

“In a year marked by an unprecedented global crisis, LDC’s reach, expertise and adaptability proved more important than ever, enabling us to keep essential supply chains active and deliver significantly improved results, while pursuing our strategic plans,” said Michael Gelchie, chief executive officer of LDC. “Our efforts in this uncertain and challenging environment were fruitful. We protected our people, our operations proceeded with minimal interruptions and we delivered solid financial results, all while pursuing our transformational journey.”

LDC said it pursued investments supporting its strategic ambitions, albeit selectively in an uncertain context. The group invested in disruptive technologies through its corporate venture capital program “LDC Innovations,” in the creation of Covantis SA, a technology company focused on digitizing international trade, in its data science capabilities to support core trading activities, and in the upgrade, development and expansion of its asset network globally.

“Our investments and progress in 2020 reinforce LDC’s leading position as a key industry participant for the future, and we took important steps to ensure that future is built on foundations of financial strength and long-term perspective,” Gelchie said. “Looking back on an extremely challenging year, I want to thank our people everywhere for their flexibility and resilience. I have every confidence that their commitment and relentless efforts will keep our operations running smoothly and reliably, our customers satisfied and our performance strong. I look forward to working alongside them to drive forward our exciting plans for the future.”