October 4, 2017 / 9:02 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Gerdau to sell Chilean unit to Matco, I&I for $154 mln

(Adds share performance, background)

SAO PAULO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Gerdau SA has agreed to sell a Chilean long steel unit to local firms Matco SA and Ingeniería & Inversiones SA for about $154 million, in a move aimed at helping the largest steelmaker in the Americas cut debt and boost profitability.

In a securities filing on Wednesday, Gerdau said the unit has installed capacity of 520,000 tonnes. The transaction is pending on antitrust approval in Chile, the filing said.

Gerdau, controlled by Brazil’s Gerdau Johanpeter family, has been focusing on higher-return steel operations since undertaking a corporate reorganization over the past year. The company also offered on Wednesday to buy back about $500 million worth of bonds due in 2020, 2021 and 2024.

Preferred shares, the company’s most widely traded class of stock, fell 0.3 percent to 11.30 reais on Wednesday. The stock is up about 44 percent this year. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; editing by Diane Craft and Susan Thomas)

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