(Updates with April and Lwarcel comments)
By Tatiana Bautzer
SAO PAULO, May 15 (Reuters) - Indonesia’s Asia Pacific Resources Group, known as April Group, entered exclusive talks to acquire Brazilian pulpmaker Lwarcel Celulose Ltda, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.
April has made the highest bid in the binding phase of the sale process, the sources said, asking for anonymity because the talks are still private.
Other groups that analyzed the deal are Chile’s Empresas Copec SA, Portugal’s Altri SGPS and China’s Shanying Paper Industry, the people added.
Copec, Altri and Shanying did not immediately comment on the matter. In a statement, April said it “regularly monitors developments in the global pulp industry”, but declined to comment on the deal. Lwarcel declined to comment.
Lwarcel has one pulp-producing unit in the state of Sao Paulo with 250,000 annual tonnes in capacity, and the expected value of the deal is around 2 billion reais ($586 million), the sources said.
Lwarcel was put up for sale a year ago by its controlling family Trecenti. Brazil’s Suzano Papel e Celulose SA had been discussing Lwarcel’s acquisition before talks accelerated to acquire rival Fibria Celulose SA.
Suzano won the battle for Fibria in March, creating the world’s largest wood pulp producer. Indonesia’s Paper Excellence’s bid was higher but lacked funding.
After the Fibria deal, Lwarcel had to go back to other bidders to discuss the sale.
Newspaper Valor Econômico reported earlier on Tuesday that April was the leading contender in Lwarcel’s sale process.
$1 = 3.4097 reais Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Leslie Adler and Stephen Coates