MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Chinese food and retail conglomerate Bright Food Group said Tuesday it's interested in buying the $1.4 billion sugar and renewable energy division of Australian building materials company CSR.
Bright Food — a food producer and retailer — said while it valued CSR's sugar business at Australian dollars $1.5 billion ($1.4 billion), the Shanghai-based company did not have the necessary information for a final valuation.
Bright Food said in a statement that it had offered to hold talks with CSR, a company with interests in building products and aluminum as well as sugar, to develop a proposal which would enable the Chinese conglomerate to buy the sugar and renewable energy business for cash.
CSR said its board would consider any proposal to buy the business.
"The Bright Food Group media statement is merely an expression of interest and does not make any proposal capable of acceptance by CSR," it said in a statement.
Bright Food said the acquisition of CSR Sugar would benefit Australian cane growers by providing a channel into the Chinese sugar and food markets, which are growing rapidly as a result of expanding population and wealth.
"Australia is not currently a major exporter of sugar to the People's Republic of China," Bright Food said.
"Bright Food believes it could leverage its sugar distribution network, which is the largest in China, to distribute CSR Sugar's products in the Chinese market."
The acquisition of CSR Sugar would require approvals by Australia's foreign investment regulator as well as Chinese government regulators.
CSR shares rose 3.8 percent to AU$2.04 after the Bright Food announcement.