* Glencore buys Vale plants in France and Norway
* Vale selling smaller units to finance bigger projects
* Ferromanganese used in help reduce steel corrosion
SAO PAULO, July 10 (Reuters) - Vale, the world's second-largest mining company, sold its ferromanganese plants in Europe to units of Glencore International Plc for $160 million, as it seeks to help finance core investments in iron ore, coal and nickel.
Vale sold Vale Manganese France SAS in Dunkirk, France and Vale Manganese Norway AS in Mo I Rana Norway to the Glencore units, which were not named separately, according to a securities filing.
The sale is "part of our continuous efforts to optimize our asset portfolio," Rio de Janeiro-based Vale said in a statement signed by Chief Financial Officer Tito Martins.
Ferromanganese is an alloy of iron and manganese and is used in steelmaking to help make steel resistant to rust and make steel easier to shape or work at lower temperatures.
Vale is selling some of its smaller assets to help finance larger projects such as its new $8 billion Serra Sul iron-ore mine in Brazil and Moatize coal project in Mozambique, where Vale plans a $6 billion doubling of output to 22 million tonnes, Martins told Reuters on March 28.