UPDATE 2-Bunge reports Q4 profit, sugar unit under active review

jueves 13 de febrero de 2014 14:31 GYT

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO Feb 13 (Reuters) - Bunge Ltd, one of the world's largest agricultural trading houses, is still in the early stages of reviewing whether to sell its $2 billion Brazilian sugar business, the company's chief executive said on Thursday.

Bunge, a major agricultural force in South America, has hired bankers from Morgan Stanley to help with the review and is exploring a number of options, CEO Soren Schroder said in an interview after the company reported it had turned a profit in the fourth quarter. Shares rose 0.6 percent to $76.08.

The "book value" for the sugar milling unit is $2 to $2.5 billion, Chief Financial Officer Drew Burke told analysts on a conference call. It would cost more than $3 billion to replace the assets.

Schroder, who took the helm at Bunge in June, last year signaled plans to shed the loss-making business, which has suffered from poor crop weather and low global sugar prices.

He told analysts on a conference call to discuss quarterly earnings that he did not know when the review would be complete.

"We will tell you when we know something," Schroder said.

Investors were eager for news about the review after waiting in vain for years for the sugar unit to contribute meaningfully to Bunge's bottom line.   Continuación...