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UPDATE 1-France's Tereos to sell Chinese starch business to Wilmar's YKA

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(Adds background, company comment)

PARIS, Sept 15 (Reuters) - French sugar group Tereos is selling its minority stake in two Chinese starch joint ventures to Yihai Kerry Arawana Holdings (YKA), the Chinese subsidiary of Singapore's Wilmar International, the group said on Wednesday.

Reuters had reported in June that Tereos, the world's second largest sugar maker in volume, was in advanced talks with Wilmar to sell its minority stake in their joint activities as part of a wider shift in strategy after a change in top management late last year.

"Tereos cooperative group announced its intent to refocus on its three main activities and reduce its debt," Tereos said in a statement.

"In this context, Tereos announces that it is divesting its 49% stakes in two Chinese starch joint ventures initiated in 2012 and 2013 to its joint venture partner, the YKA Group," it added.

Tereos has activities in sugar, alcohol and starch markets. It is one of the largest producers of ethanol in Brazil.

A company spokesperson declined to give financial details of the agreement.

The transaction with YKA Group is subject to antitrust authorities' approval, Tereos said.

Tereos reported a debt of 2.7 billion euros ($3.2 billion) at the end of June, for annual sales of around 4.3 billion euros.

($1 = 0.8452 euros) (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Evans)

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