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Billionaire Eike Batista Studying Entry in the Coffee Market

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Eike Batista, who became Brazil’s richest person by selling shares in commodities and logistic startups, is considering entering the coffee market after setting up catering and sports management ventures last year.

EBX Group Co., the holding company for most of Batista’s assets, said it is studying “business opportunities” in the coffee industry in an e-mailed statement distributed by its press office late yesterday. It didn’t provide further details.

Batista, 55, is expanding into new segments after setting up energy, mining and logistics companies. In December, EBX entered the catering services market through NRX-Newrest, a joint venture with Newrest Group Holding. EBX also last year started IMX, a partnership with IMG Worldwide Inc. focused on sports and arena management in Brazil.

Batista is buying coffee farms in Brazil’s southeastern state of Minas Gerais and plans to produce and export the beans, Veja magazine columnist Lauro Jardim reported Jan. 28, without saying where he got the information.

OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA, Batista’s oil and natural-gas unit, on Jan. 28 began procedures to produce its first oil from a well offshore Brazil. The company sold shares in an initial public offering less than four years ago.

To contact the reporters 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.ne

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