Moroccan royal firm sells stake in top sugar group
Casablanca, February 16, 2014
The investment arm of Morocco's royal family, SNI, sold a 24.5 per cent stake in Cosumar, its sole sugar supplier, to a group of local institutional investors, traders said, as it moves to divest some of its extensive holdings.
Cosumar is the sole operator in Morocco's sugar industry, and the third-largest sugar producer in Africa with an installed production capacity of 1.6 million tonnes per year, still not enough to supply all of the domestic market.
Societe Nationale d'Inestissement (SNI), responding to protests against the monarchy's broad influence over the economy, is selling some of its wide range of interests to focus mostly on energy, mining, telecoms and tourism.
The latest stake sale was SNI's second in Consumar, reducing its stake to 9 per cent. More than seven investors participated in the deal," one trader told Reuters.
SNI's investment manager Karim Chbani said it will sell the 9 per cent remaining to boost the float. "The date for the sale is not set yet,"
he told Reuters.
SNI had last year sold 27.5 per cent in Cosumar to Singapore's Wilmar International and agreed at the time to sell the second stake to a consortium of Moroccan investors.
Wilmar and the investor group will now control the company with a 54 per cent stake.
SNI sold the investors 1,012,490 shares at 1900 dirhams per share, or 1.92 billion dirhams ($232 million) total, in the block market of the Casablanca stock exchange.-TradeArabia News Service