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New Tereos leadership says to seek profit boost for all activities

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: A view shows the Tereos sugar factory in Escaudoeuvres

PARIS (Reuters) - Tereos will aim to boost the profitability of its historical French sugar business and its diversified activities, its new chairman and chief executive said on Wednesday, following last week's ousting of the cooperative group's former leadership.

"Our priority is improving the operational efficiency of the group in all its activities," Chief Executive Philippe de Raynal said in a statement.

De Raynal was named CEO at a board meeting last Friday that also elected Gerard Clay as chairman, handing victory to a group of cooperative members who had opposed former management for years.

The reshuffle followed a legal tussle that concluded on Friday, when a court rejected a request by Tereos' previous leadership to suspend three board members, including Clay, and approved an extraordinary meeting called by the three and their board allies.

Former management, led by ex-CEO Alexis Duval, had the backing of workers, who feared leadership changes could lead to factory closures or job cuts.

Opponents of Duval's strategy had voiced concern over financial results and debt at the world's second-largest sugar producer, taking issue with certain diversification moves.

The group has large operations in Brazil and is also a major ethanol and starch producer.

However, Clay said in Wednesday's statement that "our diversified activities are just as crucial and are an integral part of Tereos' DNA".

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by Barbara Lewis)