Gavilon taps Barclays to find a buyer for company -sources

NEW YORK Fri Aug 2, 2013 12:28pm EDT

NEW YORK Aug 2 (Reuters) - Gavilon, which earlier this year sold its grain-trading business, has retained Barclays to help it find a buyer for its remaining energy business in a deal that could fetch around $1 billion, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Gavilon sold its grain-trading business to Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp for $2.6 billion, after Marubeni backed out of its original $3.6 billion deal to buy the entire company.

Gavilon could not immediately be reached for comment, while Barclays declined to comment.

Shareholders of privately held Gavilon, which is based in Omaha, Nebraska, include billionaire investor George Soros, Dwight Anderson's Ospraie hedge fund, and Egypt's Orascom Construction Industries.

Gavilon's energy facilities, largely centered in the Midwest and on the Gulf Coast, could be attractive to rival traders or private equity firms looking for access to the North American energy boom.

Gavilon owns 8.5 million barrels of crude oil storage capacity in the United States, including more than 4 million barrels of tank space at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the benchmark U.S. crude oil futures contract.

It also has facilities that can hold more than 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Gavilon currently ranks as the 24th largest seller of natural gas in the United States, according to reported sales to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The attempt to sell Gavilon's energy business comes at a time when several other oil and gas traders are on the block.

Last week JPMorgan Chase & Co announced it was looking at exiting physical commodities trading, putting one of Wall Street's biggest movers of crude tankers and gas flows up for sale.

Morgan Stanley has also looked at selling all or part of its energy-focused commodity division in the past year, with Wall Street facing increasing regulatory pressure and rising capital requirements.

Hess Corp's trading arm, Hetco, is also being divested following pressure from activist investors to focus on oil and gas production.

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