Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:09am

(Reuters) – Shopping mall owner and operator DDR Corp (DDR.N) has agreed to sell out of its Brazilian joint venture to focus on the acquisition and development of shopping centers at home in the United States.

DDR said Alexander Otto, the company’s biggest single shareholder, and his affiliates had agreed to buy DDR’s 50 percent stake in Sonae Sierra Brazil BV Sarl for $343.6 million.

Beachwood, Ohio-based DDR said it would use the proceeds of the sale to buy and develop prime shopping centers in the United States.

“By exiting our investment in Brazil, we reinforce our commitment to lowering sovereign, currency, and development risk in a transaction with little friction,” DDR Chief Financial Officer David Oakes said in a statement.

Investors have become more cautious on Brazil due to higher borrowing costs and an upcoming presidential election, as well as expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue to wind down the monetary stimulus that for years has supported appetite for risk in emerging markets.

DDR owns and operates more than 400 shopping centers in 39 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Brazil.

Alexander Otto owned slightly over 11 percent of DDR’s stock as of June 18, 2013, according to Thomson Reuters data.

DDR said it expected to complete the deal within 30 days.

On Monday, DDR also lowered its forecast for funds from operations (FFO) in 2014 to $1.14-$1.18 per share from