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335014

UPDATE 2-Saudi Arabia's Salic, Brazil's Minerva buy Australian Lamb Company for about $260 mln

(Recasts with SALIC statement)

SAO PAULO/DUBAI, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC), owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, and Brazilian meatpacker Minerva has acquired the Australian Lamb Company (ALC) for 970 million riyals ($258 million), SALIC said in a statement on Friday.

The acquisition was done through Minerva Foods Australia, a joint venture established last year between SALIC and Minerva Foods, SALIC said.

According to a securities filing, following the deal Minerva will hold about 15% of the lamb and sheep market in Australia, where it already owns Shark Lake and Great Eastern Abattoir.

"We believe the consolidation of our operations in Australia, the investments in improving facilities and maximizing operational and commercial structures would bring significant synergies in the coming months," Minerva said, without providing further details on cost savings.

Australian Lamb Company has a slaughtering capacity of 3.78 million animals per year and owns two processing plants in the state of Victoria, Minerva noted, adding that exports account for 93% of its sales.

"The acquisition of ALC in partnership with Minerva Foods is in-line with SALIC's strategy to contribute to the national food security objectives through global diversified investments in countries with competitive advantage such as Australia," Sulaiman Al Rumaih, CEO of SALIC group said.

The Brazilian company expects the deal to improve its penetration in niche markets and expand its portfolio of products with greater added value.

SALIC, which was formed in 2011 to secure food supplies for the desert kingdom through mass production and foreign investments, owns 31% of the share capital of Minerva.

Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico first reported the deal on Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter. ($1 = 5.2131 reais) ($1 = 3.7575 Saudi riyals) (Reporting by Peter Frontini and Gabriel Araujo in Sao Paolo, Maha El Dahan in Dubai; Writing by Yomna Ehab and Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Chris Reese and Elaine Hardcastle)

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