Noble bids for Cerradinho cane mills – report

* Asian group to pay $590 million for two cane mills

* BP’s bid for 50 percent stake in group was rejected

SAO PAULO, Dec 16 (BestGrowthStock) – Noble Group, Asia’s largest
commodities trader, has signed a deal to take over two mills
owned by Brazilian sugar and ethanol group Cerradinho, a local
newspaper reported on Thursday.

The Singapore-listed firm (NOBG.SI: ) would pay nearly 1
billion reais ($590 million), including cash and debt, O Estado
de S.Paulo said, without specifying where the information came

It added the deal would still need to be formally approved
by Cerradinho’s board of directors, which is expected to happen
early next week.

A Cerradinho spokeswoman told Reuters that the company could
not confirm the deal. Executives at Noble offices in Sao Paulo
were not immediately available to comment.

Cerradinho was seeking a minority shareholder as part of a
broader corporate restructuring.

In November, BP (BP.L: ) bid 800 million reais for a 50
percent stake in the group, but the deal was rejected, according
to reports from local media that were not confirmed by the
companies. [ID:nN12121343]

That led Cerradinho to resume talks with Noble, as well as
with other interested groups such as Bunge (BG.N: ), Cosan
(CSAN3.SA: ), Tereos (TERI3.SA: ), and Louis Dreyfus.

Cerradinho, which has for decades operated in Brazil’s sugar
industry, has three mills that will crush about 10 million
tonnes of cane in the current season.

Under the accord with Noble, one of the three mills and cane
fields would still be owned by Cerradinho’s current owners.

Mergers and acquisitions have accelerated since the 2008
global credit crisis caught many mills in Brazil too indebted in
the middle of ambitious expansion programs.

The situation left a handful of distressed players that had
previously been considered overvalued.

Earlier this month, commodities trader Glencore bought a
stake in Brazilian ethanol plant Rio Vermelho, its first ever
investment in the cane sector.

Noble has two cane mills in Sao Paulo state, a coffee
processing plant in Minas Gerais and warehouses. In October, it
inaugurated a grain terminal in the port of Santos.
($1 = 1.699 reais)
(Reporting by Inae Riveras; Editing by Sharon Lindores)

Noble bids for Cerradinho cane mills – report