Marubeni's acquisition of Gavilon still awaits China's approval

04 April 2013 22:14  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Gavilon's acquisition by Japanese trading firm Marubeni is still progressing forward despite recent delays while awaiting regulatory approval from China, the US-based commodities trader confirmed on Thursday.

Company officials said while there is no set schedule for completion of the estimated $5.6bn (€4.4bn) deal, they have received all the necessary commitments, except from the Chinese government. China has a say in the transaction because the new combination would eventually import an estimated 20% of the grain products coming into the country.

Gavilon said it expects things to proceed without further hindrance and that, basically at this time, the situation has further stalled because Chinese officials have not completed their review of the company merger.

“We have obtained approvals from the US and all foreign antitrust authorities, with the exception of China. Both Gavilon and Marubeni continue to work with Chinese regulators to achieve approval as soon as possible,” Gavilon said.

“We remain committed to this transaction and believe it will enable our customers to more efficiently connect supply with growing global demand, and enjoy improved access to worldwide trade," the company said.

Based in Tokyo, Marubeni is a global general trading company with a focus on food, paper, textiles and energy commodities. In 2012 it agreed to purchase Gavilon for $3.6bn plus assume $2bn in company debt.

Initially it was supposed to have concluded the merger in September 2012 but the delay in getting approval of every nation potentially impacted has extended that timeline.

Despite media reports that the deal could close later this month, Gavilon said it was not prepared at this time to give or guess at an exact date. The company also declined to discuss in detail whether or not the new ownership would be making changes to current leadership or to the workforce, which numbers roughly 2,350 worldwide.

“The company is not going to speculate on timing and expects minimal organisational changes as a result of the transaction,” Gavilon said.

Gavilon is a privately held firm and is organised into two segments, which are focused on agriculture and energy. It has operations in 13 countries with 144 grain storage facilities and 85 dedicated to fertilizer.

Beside the primary business of selling and moving farm products and crop nutrients, the company also trades and stores crude oil, natural gas and renewable fuels.  

($1 = €0.78)

By: Mark Milam
+1 713 525 2653

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