Marubeni eyes US grain giant Gavilon

Marubeni eyes US grain giant Gavilon

TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
Japanese trading house Marubeni is in the final stages of talks to buy US grain giant Gavilon for about $3.8 billion, a report said yesterday.

Marubeni is in negotiations with Gavilon’s top shareholders, including US investment firm Ospraie Management, over its plans to purchase the company, the Nikkei business daily said.

Marubeni is one of Japan’s largest trading companies and the world’s sixth largest grain dealer, handling some 22.0 million tons of grain for the fiscal year to March 2012, it said.

Acquiring Gavilon will make the Japanese trading house a global leader alongside Cargill Inc. of the United States, with each handling around 40.0 million tons of grain a year, the Nikkei reported.

Gavilon, based in the state of Nebraska, handles about 20.0 million tons of corn, wheat and other grains a year through 145 operation bases, trailing Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland Co. in the US grain market.

The planned purchase will mark one of the largest investments by a Japanese trading company outside the natural resources and energy field, it said.

Marubeni declined to confirm the report, saying only that it “will make an announcement without any delay when decisions that should be open are made.” Japanese companies have been aggressively seeking mergers and acquisitions abroad in recent years, taking advantage of the yen’s strength to diversify their operations and make them globally competitive.