CSR to sell sugar unit to Wilmar International

CSR to sell sugar unit to Wilmar International

Australian group CSR has agreed to sell its sugar unit Sucrogen for A$1.75bn (US$1.47bn) to Singapore-based Wilmar International.

The surprise deal trumps China's Bright Food Group, which has been in negotiations with the sugar and building materials conglomerate for the past six months.

The acquisition marks a year-long effort by CSR to either spin-off or sell the division to allow it to focus on its building products business. The company had been looking at shifting the sugar business into a separately listed entity.

The sale will allow "Sucrogen to develop its globally cost competitive position in raw sugar milling, together with its market leading positions in refining and renewable energy as part of a world-leading agribusiness group", said CSR managing director Jeremy Sutcliffe.

The sale is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval, Overseas Investment Office (NZ) approval and other customary sale conditions. The deal is expected to conclude before the last quarter of 2010.