CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Japan's Marubeni to sell Gavilon grain business to Glencore arm in up to $3.5 bln deal

·2 min read

(Corrects Marubeni's acquisition price to $2.7 bln, not $3.6 bln)

TOKYO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Marubeni Corp said on Wednesday it will sell U.S. unit Gavilon's grains business to commodities trader Glencore PLC's Viterra arm in a deal the Japanese trading house expects to be worth up to $3.5 billion.

In a statement, Marubeni said that it expects to recover 300 billion to 400 billion yen ($2.6 billion to $3.5 billion), including loans, through the deal, to be completed after the restructuring of U.S. operations.

Marubeni paid $2.7 billion to buy grains merchant Gavilon in 2013, and has booked a series of impairment losses since then. The deal, which is subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close by March 31, 2023.

The Japanese firm will sell Gavilon's grain business to Viterra after conducting an internal business reorganisation, including a transfer of eight of the grain elevators held and operated by Gavilon in the northern United States to Columbia Grain International (CGI), another U.S.-based Marubeni unit.

Other steps include a transfer of part of the equity interest of a joint venture export terminal business on the U.S. West Coast that is held by Gavilon to CGI, and a transfer of Gavilon's fertiliser business to Marubeni.

Marubeni said it had decided to sell the Gavilon grain business as it saw an opportunity with reasonable terms, reflecting Gavilon's improved outcomes under the uptrend in the grain supply industry.

Despite the sale, Marubeni is looking to further accelerate its grain business to meet demand for grain in Asia, especially Japan, while reinforcing the handling of speciality crops and developing its processing and downstream businesses, it said.

($1=113.9000 yen) (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Kenneth Maxwell)

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