French firm Axereal seals acquisition of Cargill's malt business

FILE PHOTO: A Cargill logo is pictured in Lucens, Switzerland, September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

(Reuters) - Axereal, France’s largest grain cooperative, said it had sealed its previously-announced acquisition of Cargill’s malt business, in a deal which would make Axereal’s Boortmalt unit the world’s leading company in terms of malt production.

Boortmalt will take over all of Cargill’s malt activities, featuring 16 malthouses in nine countries, nearly 600 employees, and with a total production capacity of 1.7 million tonnes.

The financial terms of the deal, which was first flagged in December, were not disclosed.

“This acquisition is a major step in our co-operative’s strategic plan: it allows us to diversify our sources of value, and it bolsters the group’s position in a growing sector,” said Axereal Chief Executive Officer Paul-Yves L’Anthoën.

Axereal is already one of the world’s largest malt manufacturers along with fellow French grain groups Soufflet and Vivescia, mainly supplying barley-based malt to brewers.

The acquisition will bring Boortmalt’s total capacity to 3 million tonnes, with 27 malting plants on five continents, making it the world leader in the production of malt, said Axereal.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Rashmi Aich