Gavilon considers sale to fund expansion: reports

U.S. grain company Gavilon is considering options for expansion, including a sale of the company that was formerly a part of ConAgra Foods, company sources said Friday.

The Omaha-based company, which controls the third-largest U.S  grain storage network, told employees about its plans during a conference call, the sources said. The company has about 2,000 employees.

"The company has decided to explore a broad range of strategic alternatives that may further its growth and create additional value for our stakeholders," Gavilon spokesman Jonathan Gasthalter said.

He declined further comment.

Talk of a potential sale comes as Gavilon has been expanding its business.

Gavilon was formed in 2008 when Ospraie Special Opportunities fund, an affiliate of Ospraie Management, bought the commodity trading and merchandising operations of ConAgra in a deal valued at US$2.1 billion.

Ospraie, known to invest in a wide range of commodities from coffee to crude oil, renamed the operation.

Gavilon has since created the country’s third-largest U.S. grain storage network behind ADM and Cargill.

The company doubled its storage capacity in 2010 by buying Kansas City-based grain handler DeBruce Companies. It made another sizable acquisition last year when it bought Union Elevator and Warehouse’s 16 grain elevators in the Pacific Northwest.

Gavilon’s Canadian ag facilities include a regional office in Winnipeg and transload/storage facilities for feed ingredients at Lethbridge; at Barnwell, Alta., 40 km east of Lethbridge; and at St-Alexandre, Que., about 20 km south of Riviere-du-Loup.

The company also maintains a Canadian office for its energy business, at Calgary.

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