Louis Dreyfus and Olam in talks

Louis Dreyfus, one of the world's top commodity firms, is in merger talks with its Singapore-based smaller rival Olam International in what could extend Dreyfus's global reach and open up its closely held family ownership.

The French group Louis Dreyfus, whose commodities arm generates some $35bn (£22bn) in revenue, dominates the flow of agricultural commodities worldwide together with rivals Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, and Cargill.

The talks are expected to result in joint ventures in areas where they overlap, according to bankers familiar with the firms.

Louis Dreyfus is the world's largest cotton and rice trader and ranks in the top three in orange juice, wheat, corn and sugar markets.