* B&A offers to buy remaining 70 pct of firm - source
* B&A is owned by Agnelli's AGN group, bank BTG Pactual
By Sabrina Lorenzi
RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 4 B&A Mineração SA, the
mining venture co-founded by former Vale SA Chief Executive
Roger Agnelli and investment bank BTG Pactual Group, has offered
to buy all of Toronto-based Rio Verde Minerals Development Corp
, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told
Reuters on Tuesday.
B&A Mineracao has made a non-binding proposal to buy the
remaining 70 percent it does not own of Rio Verde, which is
focused on the exploration and development of fertilizer
projects in Brazil, said the source, who is not allowed to speak
about the plan on the record.
The source declined to detail terms of the proposal, such as
the price offered for Rio Verde.
Rio Verde has a market capitalization of about $44 million,
according to Reuters data.
A statement on Rio Verde's website confirmed that the firm
"is in negotiations with B&A regarding the potential acquisition
of the company." Rio Verde added that it formed a committee and
has hired financial and legal advisers to handle the process.
Agnelli and his partners at AGN Participações SA, a mining,
fertilizers and logistics company, teamed up with BTG Pactual to
found B&A in July. The executive was ousted from Vale
, the world's second-largest mining company, last year
after a decade at the helm.
The plan signals B&A's bet that fertilizers will thrive as
demand for grains and protein grows while that for minerals and
Analysts in Brazil have said that production and sales of
food are not as vulnerable as demand for iron ore, copper and
other metals to an economic slowdown in China - the world's
biggest consumer of raw materials.
Farm industry association Fiesp said on Tuesday that Brazil
will import a record $18.5 billion in fertilizers and other farm
goods in order to plant a record soybean crop.
B&A Mineração's proposal follows the September purchase of a
minority stake in Toronto-based MBAC Fertilizer Corp in
September. The company has projects in the potash and rare-earth
minerals sector in Brazil.
Agnelli returned to mining through AGN earlier in the year
after a six-month break. AGN and BTG Pactual, which
is controlled by Brazilian billionaire financier André Esteves,
joined forces in the $500 million venture aiming to buy
minerals, metals, fertilizers and logistics companies.