MOROCCO – Singaporean food processing and investment holding company, Wilmar International, has announced the sale of its minority interest in Moroccan sugar processor Cosumar.

The Singapore-listed agri-food major said the 30% stake will be purchased by “several Moroccan investors” for a deal price of more than Dh5.9bn (US$600m). The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Cosumar’s principal business is the production of sugar through the processing of sugar cane and sugar beet in Morocco. The company is also a refiner of imported raw sugar and a distributor of sugar products.

The carrying value of the investment in Cosumar in Wilmar’s books was $336.2 million as of 31 December 2022.

Simultaneously, Wilmar International has set its sights on two promising ventures in the alternative protein and sustainable agriculture domains.

The Singapore company is buying 45% of Wilmaco, another business in Morocco engaged in the production and processing of vegetable fats and by-products. The total cash consideration has been set at MAD 85,094,052 (approximately US$8.7 million).

Wilmaco, which will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wilmar International, is building a factory to produce “specialty fats” in Morocco, due to be completed in the final quarter of the year.

The acquisition of Wilmaco positions Wilmar at the forefront of the rapidly expanding alternative protein market, which has seen exponential growth in recent years as consumers increasingly seek sustainable and ethically sourced food options.

The agribusiness giant will also take the 43.3% interest held by Cosumar in Saudi Arabia-based Durrah Advanced Development for SR242.8m (US$64.7m).

Durrah focuses on refining imported raw sugar and the marketing and distribution of these products. Wilmar International already owns 5% of the renowned player in the sustainable agriculture sector, with the remaining 51.7% held by investors in Saudi Arabia.

The Wilmaco and Durrah transactions are subject to terms to be agreed in definitive agreements, set to be finalized by September 2023. Wilmar said that when completed, the deals will not have a “significant financial impact” on the company.

Asia’s leading agribusiness group reported a record US$2.40 billion net profit for the Full-Year 2022 compared to US$1.89 billion in the Full-Year 2021, with all key segments reporting higher profits.

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