Illovo Sugar, Africa’s biggest sugar producer, said yesterday (26 April) that it has terminated talks with French company Tereos who was competing with Associated British Foods to acquire a major stake in the South African firm.

Illovo had been approached by two very different offers from ABF and Tereos.

The French company’s bid involved the swapping some of its overseas interests, notably a Brazilian sugar business, for a considerable stake in Illovo. Illovo said that the two parties ended discussions due to a number of material issues, including an inability to come to an agreement concerning the swap ratios for the transfer of Tereos’ sugar assets to Illovo.

In contrast, an ABF spokesperson told just-food, the UK food group’s proposal was a simple cash offer. “We are offering cash for 51% of the shares. The company will continue to be listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange,” ABF said.

Illovo confirmed that it was still considering ABF’s approach, saying that “a further announcement in this regard is expected to be made soon.”