Glencore in talks to sell stake in agri-business to CPPIB: Reuters

Miner and commodity trader Glencore Plc is in advanced talks to sell a stake in its agricultural business to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The CPPIB would take a stake of up to 40 percent, valuing the business at about US$6 billion, the Journal reported on Tuesday, citing a source.

Glencore and CPPIB declined to comment.

The Canadian pension fund likely won an auction Glencore has been running, and a deal could be announced as early as this week, the Journal reported.

The Swiss trading giant had said last month it would offload more assets to shore up its finances to cope with a commodities rout and to cut down its debt.

Glencore had earlier lifted its target for disposals by US$1 billion to US$4 billion-US$5 billion and said it aimed to finalize the sale of a minority stake in its agriculture business in the second quarter.

In October, the company was in talks with a Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund and China’s state-backed grain trader COFCO, along with Canadian pension funds, to sell a stake in its agricultural assets, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Update: Glencore acquired Canadian grain handler Viterra Inc for $6.1 billion in 2012. Sources previously told Reuters that the assets involved in a potential sale would likely be mostly those inherited from the Viterra deal.

(Reporting by Vishaka George in Bengaluru, Eric Onstad in London and Matt Scuffham in Toronto; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann