Malaysia's KL Kepong acquires Liberian palm oil operations

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Malaysia's third-largest listed plantation company, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, said it had agreed to a $21.3 million cash acquisition to gain a foothold in the palm oil sector in Liberia.

KL Kepong has agreed to buy a 20.1 percent stake in London-listed Equatorial Palm Oil PLC and a 50 percent stake in Liberian Palm Developments Ltd, both from Singaporean palm oil producer and exporter Biopalm Energy Limited, it said in a stock exchange filing on Thursday.

Listed palm oil firms in Malaysia and Singapore have turned increasingly to Africa to set up operations as land in top producer Indonesia is becoming scarce after years of rapid development.

"The proposed acquisition is in line with KL Kepong's strategy to expand its plantation landbank outside Malaysia and Indonesia for geographical diversification into the West African region, where there is a net deficit of edible oils," the company said.

The remaining 50 percent in Liberian Palm Developments is owned by Equatorial Palm Oil.

KL Kepong will also take on Liberian Palm Developments' $608,000 loan from Biopalm Energy.

Liberian Palm Developments holds two 50-year concessions in Liberia covering 25,547 hectares.