REFILE-Moroccan royal holding firm sells stake in Cosumar to investors

Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:44pm EST

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RABAT Jan 22 (Reuters) - The investment arm of Morocco's royal family, SNI, sold a 24.5 pct stake in Cosumar S.A. , its sole sugar supplier, to a group of local institutional investors, traders said, as it moves to divest some of its extensive holdings.

Cosumar is the sole operator in Morocco's sugar industry, and the third-largest sugar producer in Africa with an installed production capacity of 1.6 million tonnes per year, still not enough to supply all of the domestic market.

Societe Nationale d'Inestissement (SNI), responding to protests against the monarchy's broad influence over the economy, is selling some of its wide range of interests to focus mostly on energy, mining, telecoms and tourism.

Wednesday's sale was SNI's second in Consumar, reducing its stake to 9 percent.

"SNI will sell the 9 percent remaining to boost the float," Karim Chbani, SNI's investment manager, told Reuters. "The date for the sale is not set yet."

SNI last year sold 27.5 percent in Cosumar to Singapore's Wilmar International Ltd and agreed at the time to sell the second stake to a consortium of Moroccan investors.

Wilmar and the investor group will now control the company with a 54 percent stake.

SNI sold the investors 1,012,490 shares at 1900 dirhams per share, or 1.92 billion dirhams ($232 million) total, in the block market of the Casablanca stock exchange.

"More than seven investors participated in the deal," one trader told Reuters.

Cosumar shares were steady at 1900 dirhams after the transaction. ($1 = 8.2761 Moroccan dirhams) (Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi; editing by Jane Baird)

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