Bunge plans initial public stock offering

by Emily Wilson
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Bunge International Ltd., a closely held agricultural merchandiser and food processor with operations around the world, is planning an initial public stock offering. Plans for the I.P.O. were disclosed by Alberto Weisser, chief executive officer of Bunge International, and other company executives in media interviews in Brazil.

"We have decided that we'll go public," Mr. Weisser told the Bloomberg Brazil news service. "Obviously at this moment, the commodity business and the agriculture commodity business is not at its high point, but we're ready."

Bunge International last year relocated its headquarters from Sao Paulo in Brazil to White Plains as part of a strategic restructuring launched in 1998 to divest its consumer food businesses and increase investments in its agribusiness and fertilizer operations.

A Bunge spokesman in White Plains said the company's tentative plan for an I.P.O. called for listing the agribusiness holding company, which consists of Bunge's North American commodity and food businesses; its South American fertilizer, commodity and food businesses; and its global sales and marketing unit. The Bunge stock would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

No specific date or window for the offering has been set, the spokesman said. The I.P.O. is likely within the next two years, "when the time is right," he said, referring to commodities markets.