(Corrects sale price to reais from dollars)
* Biosev trying to improve installed capacity at mills
* Brazil's second-largest milling group canceled IPO
By Fabiola Gomes
SAO PAULO, Dec 17 Biosev, the Brazilian sugar
and ethanol unit of global commodities company Louis Dreyfus
Corp, said on Monday it is selling its São Carlos
plant to the São Martinho milling group for 200
million reais ($95.51 million).
The sale by Biosev, Brazil's second-largest milling group
after Cosan, includes the plant as well as related
agricultural assets and the surrounding sugar cane areas in
Jaboticabal in the interior of São Paulo state.
Biosev's president said the company is trying to raise
installed capacity at its existing mills at a difficult time for
Brazil's sugar industry.
"We are trying to improve efficiency by selling assets that
were not aligned with our strategy," Biosev President Christophe
Akli told Reuters in a phone interview.
The company aims to increase installed capacity at its
plants to 8 3 percent by the 2013/14 harvest, he said. In 2011/12
installed capacity was 70 percent after a weak sugar cane
harvest in the world's largest producer of the sweetener.
The São Carlos mill that is being sold can crush 1.85
million tonnes of sugar cane per year, compared with the average
of 3.5 million tonnes per year at Biosev's other plants.
Brazil's milling industry has been extremely fragile in
recent years, with some 30 mills closing in the past year and a
half. Biosev itself scrapped its plans for an initial public
offering in August, citing growing market uncertainty locally
and overseas. and
French company Louis Dreyfus was one of the first
multinational groups to enter Brazil's cane sector, when it
snapped up the ailing Santelisa Vale milling group in 2009 and
renamed it Biosev.
($1 = 2.0941 Brazilian reals)
(Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)