The American agribusiness group Bunge Limited became a public company on August 2 with the start of trade on its newly issued shares, reports the Financial Times. Bunge annual sales reach $10bn and include soy processing and fertilisers. Shares were down 60 cents at $15.40. The IPO comprised 17.6m shares representing about 21 per cent of equity in the company raising $281.6m. The offering dipped to a discount to its offering price of $16, which was already at the low end of the pricing range sought of $16 to $18 per share. According to some analysts, Bunge's shares could continue to come under pressure due to the group's inconsistent financial performance and looming share sales as restricted holders become able to sell. About 82 million shares will be outstanding after the offering, held largely by about 100 members of the various families involved with Bunge. The family members are not selling any shares in the offering, but will be free to do so after 180 days. Their desire to have a means for realising some of their holdings is understood to be one of the reasons prompting the group's decision to go public. According to Bunge officials, few shareholders have a stake more than 5 per cent and they did not signal any significant selling. "Our read from the shareholders is that they all believe in the prospects of the company," said William Wells, Bunge chief financial officer. The IPO comes in the wake of considerable consolidation in soybean processing capacity industry-wide. "The whole industry is going in the right direction," said Alberto Weisser, chief executive. According to the company, it is currently considering various expansion initiatives. China and India are two target markets, especially India where Bunge has a majority stake in a joint venture and wants to expand its oilseed processing facilities. The company is also getting involved in the nutraceuticals business.