Singapore-based agribusiness group Olam International has confirmed that it is considering merging with Louis Dreyfus, a global commodity trading house.

Olam announced today (24 September) that it is in “preliminary confidential discussions” with Louis Dreyfus on “a possible business collaboration which may take the form of, among others, a merger”.

The announcement from Olam, which sent its shares rising, came amid reports that Louis Dreyfus is looking at changing its ownership structure.

According to the Financial Times, Louis Dreyfus is considering options that also include a possible IPO. The company is trying to diversify away from its traditional status as a trader and into production assets, the FT said.

Olam has itself been embarking on expansion. The company recently announced plans to acquire NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZFSU) in a deal worth NZ109m (US$79.5m) and told just-food this week that it was eyeing Indonesia for future growth.

In June, Olam struck a deal to buy the US Gilroy Foods & Flavors business from ConAgra Foods.

Shares in Olam were up 6.8% at S$3.15 at 17:05 local time today.