Switzerland's Trafigura sells stake in Africa unit for $500 million


(Reuters) - Global trading firm Trafigura (TRAFGF.UL) (TRAFG.UL) said it sold a $500 million (307.9 million pounds) stake in its African unit Puma to Angolan companies rather than to opt for an earlier plan raise cash through a share sale.

In a company prospectus, Trafigura said it now owned 49 percent in Puma, having sold stakes to Angolan state energy firm Sonangol and private Angolan firm Cochan.

"With Trafigura ownership in Puma below 50 percent, Trafigura envisages that Puma will eventually be deconsolidated from the Group's balance sheet", Swiss-based Trafigura said.

Puma is the holding company for most of Trafigura's oil logistical assets, the company said.

Trafigura has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into buying mid-stream oil assets for Puma, one of the largest retail companies in Africa, an area the firm has identified as core to its future growth.

The continent has been the biggest revenue generator for the global trading firm in the past years, outpacing Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Trafigura said it saw a decline in profits in the first nine months of 2013 versus the same period last year partially due to an increase in general and administrative cost.

It said net profit declined to $607 million in the nine months to June 2013 from $903 million in the same period last year. This followed a decline in profits in the 2012 financial year versus 2011 as most trading houses battled shrinking profit margins despite rising revenues.

Trafigura said its nine months turnover rose to $99 billion from $92 billion.

(Reporting by Emma Farge and Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Diane Craft)

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