May 16, 2012 / 9:51 AM / 7 years ago

Suedzucker wins conditional EU okay for ED&F Man deal

BRUSSELS, May 16 (Reuters) - German sugar company Suedzucker secured EU approval on Wednesday to buy a 25 percent stake minus one share in British commodities trading company ED&F Man for $255 million after it agreed to sell a refinery in Italy to address competition concerns.

Suedzucker, Europe’s largest sugar company, makes more than half of its revenues from the sweetener.

ED&F Man deals in agricultural commodities globally, including sugar, coffee and molasses and in the sugar trade is the world’s second-largest dealer, handling about 8.5 million tonnes in 2010.

Reuters had reported on April 27 that the European Commission, the EU competition watchdog, would approve the deal.

“The current high prices and scarcity of sugar across the EU make it all the more important to maintain competition on the already concentrated European sugar markets,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

“The divestment of the Brindisi refinery ensures that the merged entity will face a viable competitor in the Italian market,” he said.

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