(New throughout, adds CEO comment, earnings guidance and names of new directors, updates share price; adds byline)
CHICAGO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Bunge Ltd will add four directors to its board, the global grains trader said on Wednesday, bowing to pressure from activist investors D.E. Shaw and Continental Grain Co that have been pushing the company to explore a sale.
Bunge also reported a stronger-than-expected third-quarter profit, but trimmed its 2018 earnings outlook for two business segments.
Shares of the White Plains, New York-based agribusiness fell 5 percent to $64.92 per share.
The board expansion comes after the company has fielded unsuccessful takeover bids by rival Archer Daniels Midland Co and commodities trader Glencore, while a prolonged global grain glut has hurt crop prices.
Bunge said three new directors, joining immediately, are Continental Grain CEO Paul Fribourg, former Gavilon Group CEO Gregory Heckman and Henry Winship, president of Pacific Point Capital. A fourth mutually agreed upon director will join the board by the end of the year.
Bunge also said it would form a separate committee, chaired by Continental Grain Chief Executive Paul Fribourg, to conduct a "strategic review focused on enhancing long-term shareholder value". The six-member strategic review committee will include the new directors named on Wednesday and three current directors, the company said.
"They will have a fresh look at everything we're doing, from our ongoing programs to anything else," Bunge CEO Soren Schroder said on a conference call with analysts. "There's no preconceived solution to this."
Bunge reported a better-than-expected third-quarter profit, helped by higher margins from its agribusiness division.
Net income available to shareholders rose to $365 million, or $2.39 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from $92 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned $2.52 per share, beating average analysts' estimates of $2.39 per share, according to Refinitv data.
Bunge held its 2018 agribusiness segment earnings outlook unchanged in the upper half of an $800 million to $1 billion range, supported by oilseeds operations in the Northern Hemisphere. Fertilizer segment guidance was raised by $10 million tom $35 million.
But the company cut its food and ingredients unit guidance by $40 million to a range from $250 million to $270 million, and forecast a $20 million to $40 million loss in sugar and bioenergy, from a previously stated break-even outlook. (Additional reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and David Gregorio)