OMAHA — Privately-held Gavilon L.L.C., one of the largest grain, processing and merchandising companies in the United States, is being put up for sale, according to reliable sources in the company.

Milling & Baking News has learned the company’s 2,000 employees received notification in recent days that Gavilon’s owners were looking to sell the business.

Without directly confirming or denying the company is for sale, Jonathan Gasthalter, a Gavilon spokesperson, acknowledged strategic alternatives are under exploration at the company.

“Gavilon has strengthened and firmly established its position as a leading global commodity company with a robust pipeline of robust growth opportunities,” Mr. Gasthalter said. “The company has decided to explore a broad range of strategic alternatives that may further its growth and create additional value for its stakeholders.”

Gavilon was established in 2008 with the sale by ConAgra Foods Inc. of its Trading and Merchandising business to Ospraie Management L.L.C. Special Opportunities Fund in a $2.1 billion transaction. With the sale, the business was renamed Gavilon L.L.C. Ospraie remains the principal owner of the business.
Since it became a privately-held company, Gavilon has grown rapidly with a number of significant actions, including acquisitions and capital expenditures.

Most recently, Gavilon in November announced plans to build an edible oil processing, transloading and storage facility in Stockton, Calif. Also in recent months, the company opened an office in Kiev, Ukraine, and completed the acquisition of Millard Grain, based in Avalon, Wis. Early in 2011, Gavilon completed the acquisition of the DeBruce Companies.

Gavilon operates 300 facilities and regional offices worldwide. The company estimated its business mix, as measured as share of earnings, at 62% grain and ingredients (mostly origination, storage and distribution), 20% energy (storage, transportation and logistics) and 18% fertilizer (distribution).

According to the 2012 Grain & Milling Annual, Gavilon was the third largest grain storage company in the United States.