ContiGroup changing name back to Continental Grain

by Josh Sosland
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NEW YORK — Nine years after selling its worldwide commodity marketing business, ContiGroup Companies, Inc. is changing its name back to Continental Grain Co.

The company, which was established in 1813, operated under the Continental Grain name from 1921 until the company’s grain business, one of the world’s largest, was sold to Cargill in 1999.

In addition to the name change, Continental has created a new unit, Arlon Group L.L.C., to manage investment activities at the company that are not related to its legacy agribusiness activities.

"The Continental Grain and Arlon names reflect the pride we all share in our heritage of successful, long-term investing and deep and respected network of partners that our company has built since our founding in 1831," said Paul J. Fribourg, chairman and chief executive officer. "Continental Grain has a proven track record of creating value in both turbulent and strong markets alongside the distinguished company in which we invest."

While "grain" may be back in the company’s name, Mr. Fribourg said the company does not plan to return to either the global or domestic grain trading business. Its principal agribusiness operations include ownership of Wayne Farms L.L.C., a major U.S. broiler producer and processor; the largest shareholding in Smithfield Foods; and the largest cattle feeding operation in a joint venture with Smithfield.

A business description included in the company’s announcement said Continental Grain is "dedicated to working with its existing agricultural businesses pursuing strategic opportunities in protein-based businesses while taking advantage of new investment opportunities."

Arlon Group is named after a town in Belgium where Continental Grain was established. Under the Arlon umbrella, three investment groups will operate. Arlon Capital Partners will invest directly in companies through privately-negotiated transactions; Arlon Opportunities Investors will invest in publicly traded securities and commodities; and Arlon Asset Management will engage external managers, employing an endowment-style investment approach.

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