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Olam Drops Brazilian Sugar Acquisition; Buys Seda Coffee

Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Olam International Ltd., the commodity trader that short-seller Carson Block said may fail, abandoned its bid for a Brazilian sugar-mill operator as it couldn’t agree on terms.

Olam and Usina Acucareira Passos SA “were not able to reach an agreement on the final closing terms and conditions,” the Singapore-based company said in a statement yesterday. “Both parties have decided to terminate the proposed transaction.”

The trader said in May that it had agreed to invest in its first sugar mill in Brazil by buying Usina Acucareira Passos. Olam said it would pay 255 million reais ($123 million) for the company and invest $111.5 million over the following five years to expand capacity and boost output.

Olam agreed to buy Seda Solubles S.L.’s coffee business unit for $52 million in cash, the company said yesterday in a separate statement. The acquisition will give Olam a manufacturing and packaging facility in Spain and a storage and packaging plant in Russia.

Olam, the world’s second-largest rice trader, has slumped 11 percent in Singapore trading since research firm Muddy Waters LLC’s founder Block first made his allegations on Nov. 19. Olam has responded with a lawsuit against the firm and Block, and announced plans Dec. 4 to sell as much as $1.25 billion of bonds and warrants to address what Chief Executive Officer Sunny Verghese described as any “lingering doubts” about its liquidity.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Biesheuvel in London at tbiesheuvel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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