Soybean Mogul Negotiating to Buy Tejar’s Brazil Unit

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Blairo Maggi
Photographer: Patricia Monteiro/Bloomberg

Amaggi, the Brazilian soybean group owned by entrepreneur-turned-politician Blairo Maggi, is in advanced talks to buy the local unit of Argentina’s El Tejar to capitalize on increasing crop demand from China, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The proposed acquisition of O Telhar encompasses all assets in Brazil, including about 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) of farming land, cotton mills, warehouses and machinery, one of the people said, asking to not be identified as talks are private. Amaggi declined to comment, while El Tejar representatives in Brazil didn’t immediately respond.

Brazil -- already the biggest exporter of soybeans, sugar, coffee and meat -- has been expanding agricultural production to tap China’s growing demand for imported food. On Tuesday, Bunge Ltd. said it offered to buy two soybean plants in Brazil.

Owned by the family of former Agriculture Minister Maggi, Amaggi produces grains and cotton on 280,000 hectares. El Tejar’s assets in Brazil would increase its planted area to 350,000 hectares, an area bigger than Rhode Island, strengthening its position in cotton.

Founded in Argentina, El Tejar is controlled by U.S. fund Capital International and U.K.-based Altima Partners. In 2013, the group opted to focus operations in Brazil amid unfavorable policies in Argentina. It grew to be among Brazil’s largest soy producers but then shrunk when a ban on foreign company land purchases added to operational problems.

Amaggi produces more than 1.1 million metric tons of grains and fiber a year and originates around 10 million grains, according to the company’s website.

The group exported 4 million tons of soybeans, soy meal and corn last year, according to figures from shipping agency Cargonave. It also owns two crushing plants in Brazil and operates a logistical export corridor in the nation’s north.

— With assistance by Cristiane Lucchesi