Vanguarda May Sell Shares, Bonds to Fund Agriculture Expansion, CEO Says

Vanguarda Agro SA, a Brazilian farm company backed by Spanish billionaire Enrique Banuelos, may sell new shares or bonds to fund a future expansion in Brazil, Chief Executive Officer Bento do Amaral Peixoto Moreira said.

“We are considering all alternatives, including a share sale,” Moreira said yesterday in a telephone interview from Sao Paulo. “We have ambitious plans to grow in Brazil,” he said, declining to specify expansion plans.

Vanguarda, based in Sao Paulo, sows soybeans, corn and cotton in an area twice the size of Phoenix. It also owns five biodiesel plants in Brazil, including three that are idled as it shifts its focus to agriculture from biodiesel production.

Vanguarda is reviewing the best alternatives to make its three idled biodiesel plants profitable. The company may seek a partner or sell the facilities, he said.

“If that means a disinvestment, we will disinvest further,” Moreira said.

Banuelos’s holding company, Veremonte Participacoes SA, indirectly owns a 21.3 percent stake in Vanguarda, the company formerly known as Brasil Ecodiesel Industria & Comercio de Biocombustiveis & Oleos Vegetais SA.

Vanguarda rose 3 centavos, or 5 percent, to close at 63 centavos in Sao Paulo trading yesterday.

The company plans to focus on agriculture production in Brazil, Moreira said. Vanguarda agreed to sell two plants to Camera Agroalimentos SA for 58 million reais ($33 million), it said Oct. 24. It also sold a cotton seed crushing plant to Louis Dreyfus Commodities Brasil SA for 40 million reais Sept. 30. Proceeds will be used to buy or lease farmland, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lucia Kassai in Sao Paulo at lkassai@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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