May 8, 2018 / 2:58 PM / 6 months ago

Bunge hires banks for Brazil IPO, but launch unlikely soon -sources

SAO PAULO, May 8 (Reuters) - Global commodities trader Bunge Ltd has hired banks to prepare an initial public offering (IPO) of its Brazilian sugarcane mills, but chances of an imminent launch are slim, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

The investment banking units of JPMorgan Chase & Co, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA and Banco Santander Brasil SA are working with the company on the deal.

Bunge Chief Executive Soren Schroder said last week the company may file with the Brazilian securities regulator for an offering as soon as this month.

Bankers are beginning to prepare the company for the offering, but investor interest seems to be small, as the global sugar glut pushed down prices and made it tough for mills to turn a profit, the sources added, asking for anonymity because talks are still private.

Bunge's sugar and bioenergy division continued to lose money in the first quarter, leading the company to cut its forecast for the unit's 2018 earnings by $10 million.

One of the people said market volatility also reduces the chances of a transaction soon. Bunge and the banks did not immediately comment on the matter.

Bunge has tried to sell its eight Brazilian sugar and ethanol mills for four years, but a separate sale process has failed to attract firm interest from strategic or financial investors. (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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