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Batista’s EBX, Korea’s SK Group Consider Partnerships

Billionaire Eike Batista. Photographer: Adriano Machado/Bloomberg
Billionaire Eike Batista. Photographer: Adriano Machado/Bloomberg

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista’s EBX Group Ltd. said it’s considering new partnerships with SK Group after South Korea’s third-largest industrial group bought a stake in his mining unit for $700 million last year.

SK Chairman Chey Tae Won traveled to Brazil this week to analyze new business between the two groups, EBX said in an e-mailed statement. Chey visited some of Batista’s projects in the Latin American country and met with executives of his oil, energy, logistics and real-estate businesses, EBX said.

“The South Korean executives are studying potential new business with the group, particularly in the infrastructure and natural resources sectors,” EBX said late yesterday in the statement.

SK said this month it plans to boost spending this year by 31 percent to a record $9.4 billion and increase hiring by 25 percent. It agreed to pay $700 million through its subsidiary SK Networks Co. to buy a stake in MMX Mineracao & Metalicos SA in September, becoming the third-largest shareholder of Batista’s mining business unit.

In December, the Korean conglomerate sold its Brazilian oil subsidiary SK do Brasil Ltda. to Maersk Oil, a unit of A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, for $2.4 billion.

In his trip to Brazil, SK’s Chey went to MMX’s Serra Azul iron-ore project in the Minas Gerais State, EBX said. He also visited Porto Acu, a port Batista’s LLX Logistica SA is developing to export the mineral from Brazil in partnership with Anglo American Plc.

To contact the reporter on this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto in Rio de Janeiro at jspinetto@bloomberg.net;

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

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