SAO PAULO, June 16 A unit of Chile's Empresas
Copec SA has emerged as favorite to win control of
Eldorado Brasil Celulose SA, whose controlling shareholder has
put it on the block after signing a plea deal in Brazil, Valor
Econômico newspaper said on Friday.
A person familiar with the talks told Valor that Copec's
Arauco unit valued Eldorado at 11 billion reais ($3.36 billion)
in a non-binding offer sent to Brazil's billionaire Batista
family, Valor said. The Batistas' investments are overseen by
J&F Investimentos SA, which owns 81 percent of Eldorado.
Copec's Arauco is being advised by Banco Santander Brasil SA
and law firms Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP and
Mattos Filho Advogados, Valor said. A transaction could be
announced as early as Friday or over the weekend, the newspaper
A representative of Santiago-based Copec could not be
immediately reached for comment. J&F did not have an immediate
comment on the Valor report.
With debt hovering at 8 billion reais, Eldorado could be put
up for sale, sources told Reuters in recent weeks, after two key
members of Brazil's Batista family were ensnared in a corruption
scandal. Eldorado's lenders have pressed for a sale.
Brazilian pension funds Petros Fundação and
Funcef Fundação dos Economiarios own the remaining
19 percent of Eldorado.
Joesley and Wesley Batista, the family members who last
month entered a plea deal with Brazilian prosecutors, named
Brazilian President Michel Temer in a corruption scandal.
Earlier this month the government ordered state-controlled
lender Caixa Economica Federal to stop providing financing to
the Batista family, Reuters reported people familiar with the
decision as saying earlier this month. A source described the
move as retaliation.
Uncertainty surrounding the plea deal hampered Suzano Papel
& Celulose SA's interest in Eldorado, Valor said.
Fibria SA, the world's No. 1 eucalyptus pulpmaker, could bid for
Eldorado on Friday to seize massive cost savings in a takeover,
Valor reported, without saying how it got the information.
This week, Valor said that Fibria seemed the
least likely suitor because a key shareholder, state development
bank BNDES, is not expected to approve a transaction
that could shore up the Batistas.
($1 = 3.2740 reais)
(Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Chizu