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Wilmar Buys Stake in Moroccan Sugar Company for $263 Million

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April 16 (Bloomberg) -- Wilmar International Ltd., the largest sugar cane miller in Australia, bought a 27.5 percent stake in Moroccan supplier Cosumar SA from Societe Nationale d’Investissement to expand in Africa.

Wilmar paid 2.3 billion dirham ($263 million) for the shares in Africa’s third-largest sugar producer and will fund the purchase internally and with bank loans, the Singapore-based company said in a statement. Another 26.5 percent of Cosumar will be sold to a group of Moroccan institutional investors, who will hold a 54 percent controlling stake with Wilmar.

Buying Cosumar, Morocco’s sole sugar supplier, gives Wilmar additional production capacity of 1.6 million metric tons and adds to its refineries in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. Chief Financial Officer Ho Kiam Kong said Feb. 22 the company is seeking sugar and oil palm assets in Africa and Myanmar.

“Our investment in Cosumar gives us a significant presence in the Western hemisphere and is part of our overall strategy to develop a world-class sugar business,” Chief Executive Officer Kuok Khoon Hong said in the statement.

Wilmar shares fell 1.2 percent to S$3.27 as of 2:55 p.m. in Singapore, compared with the 0.2 percent gain in the benchmark Straits Times index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Yun in Hong Kong at myun11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net