(Adds no comment from companies involved)
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Tatiana Bautzer
SAO PAULO, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Brazilian engineering conglomerate Camargo Correa SA is in talks to sell a minority stake in Loma Negra Cia Industrial SA, Argentina’s No. 1 cement producer, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Camargo Correa is in negotiations with a number of unspecified potential bidders, most of which are investment firms with holdings in industrial companies whose focus is not solely on cement, according to the person, who requested anonymity since the talks are private,
Camargo Correa disposed of electricity and consumer goods assets earlier this year. Its cement interests are all managed by a São Paulo-based investment holding firm known as InterCement.
For at least two years, the billionaire family that controls Camargo Correa has discussed selling part of InterCement or partially disposing of assets such as Loma Negra, the person said.
Local financial blog Brazil Journal reported on Thursday that the Loma Negra deal would involve the sale of a 40-percent stake. InterCement declined to comment, while Camargo Correa did not have an immediate comment.
Camargo Correa has been recovering rapidly from the adverse effects of a corruption probe at state firms that were key clients of the conglomerate’s engineering unit. At the same time, Argentina has been slowly luring more investment as President Mauricio Macri tries to implement more business-friendly policies.
Camargo Correa raised about $2.5 billion from the sales of fashion brand Alpargatas SA in December and a controlling stake in power holding company CPFL Energia SA in June.
The grandchildren of founder Sebastião Camargo occupy most of the conglomerate’s board seats and are working to transform Camargo Correa into an investment holding company.
InterCement, Brazil’s No. 2 cement maker, is a leading producer of the construction material in Portugal, Mozambique and Cabo Verde.
Camargo Correa purchased Loma Negra in 2005 for $1 billion, the first of a series of acquisitions to strengthen the foothold of InterCement in emerging markets. Loma Negra was founded in 1926 by Argentine businessman Alfredo Fortabat.
Two people familiar with Camargo Correa’s strategy told Reuters in August that the conglomerate tried to sell a minority stake in InterCement a couple of years ago and even considered a listing of the company outside Brasil.
However, the process failed because interested parties - either for an acquisition or an offering - were unwilling to meet the group’s valuation.
Camargo Correa has since hired the investment-banking units of Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, Banco Bradesco SA and Citigroup Inc as financial advisers to the sale plan, the two people said.
Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Tom Brown