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Felda said to seek buyer for US$150 million North American assets

[SINGAPORE] Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd, the world's largest producer of crude palm oil, is seeking a buyer for peripheral assets in North America, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Malaysian company has invited offers for its crushing and refining businesses in the US and Canada, the people said. Suitors have submitted first-round bids for the operations, which could fetch about US$150 million, they said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Felda said earlier this year it will sell some assets as it seeks to increase its core palm oil plantation business, expand trading operations and develop new markets. Shares of the company, whose 2012 initial public offering raised US$3.3 billion, have dropped 12 per cent this year compared to the 1.5 per cent decline in the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index.

The company's Canadian arm, which does soybean and canola crushing, recorded a pretax loss of 81.8 million ringgit (US$21.9 million) last year, according to its 2014 annual report. Its US oleochemical business recorded a profit of 36.5 million ringgit for the period.

Felda has operations in more than 10 countries across Asia, North America and Europe including upstream and downstream palm oil, rubber, sugar and logistics. Last month, it announced a 98 per cent drop in first quarter net income on lower palm oil prices.

The company said in an e-mailed statement it doesn't comment on planned acquisitions or divestitures.