Bunge to buy sugar cane mill in Brazil

by Jeff Gelski
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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Bunge Ltd. plans to acquire its first production asset in the sugar and sugar-based ethanol industry. The company on Sept. 17 said it had signed an agreement to buy Agroindustrial Santa Juliana, a sugar cane mill and ethanol production facility in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, from the Tenorio Group.

The mill became operational last year and will have the capacity to mill 1.6 million tonnes in this harvest season. Bunge has plans to eventually expand the capacity to 4 million tonnes per year. The country of Brazil uses more than 50% of its cane sugar production to make ethanol. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts Brazilian sugar production at 31.6 million tonnes in 2006-07 and 32.9 million tonnes in 2007-08.

"The acquisition of Santa Juliana is an important step in Bunge’s strategy to become a global and fully integrated player in the sugar and sugar-based ethanol industry," said Alberto Weisser, chairman and chief executive officer of Bunge, White Plains. "These markets are natural extensions of our core agribusiness operations, and by participating in them we intend to leverage our risk management and logistics expertise, increase our connection to farmers and expand the product portfolio Bunge offers its customers."

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