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Copersucar Invests in Eco-Energy to Access U.S. Ethanol

Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Copersucar SA, the world’s second-largest sugar trader, agreed to buy a majority stake in the U.S biofuel marketer Eco-Energy Inc. to gain direct access to fuel distributors including Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp.

The biofuel companies have combined marketing capacity of 10 billion liters (2.6 billion gallons) of ethanol a year, 12 percent of the global market, Copersucar Chairman Luis Roberto Pogetti said today in a conference call. He didn’t say how much of closely held Eco-Energy he’s buying or the price.

U.S. refiners are required to blend certain biofuels with their products under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard. Ethanol derived from Brazilian sugar cane meets the standard, which will ensure demand for Copersucar’s exports, Pogetti said.

“The U.S. mandate is here to stay,” he said. “Eco-Energy can offer oil companies the complete package and Copersucar is the provider of sugar-cane ethanol in this package.”

The two companies plan to invest $25 million in infrastructure including terminals and expect to be able to supply 18 billion liters of ethanol annually by 2016, he said.

Copersucar expects to market 1.3 billion gallons of ethanol during the 2012-2013 harvest season produced at about 100 mills, Sao Paulo-based Copersucar said today in a statement. Eco-Energy, based in Franklin, Tennessee, handles about 9 percent of the U.S. ethanol market with annual sales exceeding $3 billion.

The deal is expected to close within 45 days after receiving U.S. regulatory approval, Pogetti said. Minneapolis-based Cargill Inc., America’s largest closely held company, is the biggest sugar-trading company.

To contact the reporters on this story: Stephan Nielsen in Sao Paulo at snielsen8@bloomberg.net; Lucia Kassai in Sao Paulo at lkassai@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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