March 15, 2018 / 11:23 PM / 2 years ago

Paper Excellence raises bid in battle for Brazilian pulpmaker Fibria

SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Netherlands-Based Paper Excellence BV raised its bid to take over Brazilian pulpmaker Fibria Celulose SA FIBR3.SA in an attempt to win the deal from rival Suzano Papel e Celulose SA, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

Paper Excellence raised its bid on Wednesday for Fibria — the world’s largest eucalyptus pulp maker — to 71.50 reais per share from 67 reais, the source said, asking for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Controlling shareholders, industrial conglomerate Votorantim Participações SA and the investment arm of development bank BNDES, all confirmed this week having received two competing bids for Fibria.

Sources with knowledge of the matter said a decision on the bids is imminent and could be reached before the weekend.

Paper Excellence, controlled by the Wijaya family, which also owns Asia Pulp & Paper Company Ltd., still has to present documents referring to the new bid financing. It has offered to pay a $1.2 billion break-up fee if the deal falls through.

Paper Excellence is offering to acquire the 58.5-percent stake held in Fibria by controlling shareholders, industrial conglomerate Votorantim Participações SA and BNDESPar, the investment arm of Brazil’s state development bank BNDES.

But the Asian group will also extend a buyout offer to minority shareholders, the person added.

At the new price, Paper Excellence’s offer values Fibria at around 40 billion reais ($12.18 billion), excluding its debt, according to Reuters calculations.

BNDES has requested Paper Excellence prove the bid is funded, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The value of Suzano’s rival bid is unclear and the transaction proposed by the Brazilian pulpmaker has a different structure, according to the people.

Paper Excellence and Votorantim Participações declined to comment. Development bank BNDES did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

($1 = 3.2854 reais)

Additional reporting by Tatiana Bautzer and Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Sandra Maler

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