Atlanta-based Riverwood International Corp., a $1.1 billion paper products manufacturer, has agreed to form a joint venture to produce coated board multiple packaging for its beverage and food customers in Brazil where it has operated since 1958.

The partner is Sao Paulo-based Cia. Suzano de Pepel e Celulose. Riverwood would hold a 75% interest.

Riverwood also said it would sell to Suzano just under 50% of its integrated container operation in Brazil, known as Igaras.  The deal is expected to close in January.  Terms were not disclosed.

Riverwood’s president and chief executive, Thomas H. Johnson, said the moves were part of a strategy of “redeploying assets for investment in growth of our coated board system.”

The Igaras sale would cause charges for a cash liability, which along with other non-cash deferred taxes, “will result in a significant non-recurring charge to net earnings,” the company said.  Riverwood anticipates recording the charge before yearend.

Riverwood’s moves in Brazil come at a time when thousands of U.S. businesses are showing strong, renewed interest in the huge country due to its newly relaxed trade restrictions and improving economy, including determination to fight inflation.  One business executive noted that Sao Paulo’s market alone is the size of all of Australia’s.