Only months after buying Unilever's Indian fats business Hindustan Lever, US agri-giant Bunge carves deeper into the Indian oils market acquiring the India-based assets of private edible oils company Prestige Foods this week.
Under terms of the deal, carried out through Bunge's Indian subsidiary, Gee Pee Ceval Proteins, the US oil company will acquire an oilseed processing unit, an integrated vegetable oil refinery and packaging facility, and a production capacity of 150 tons per day of refined oil and 100 tons per day of vanaspati, a butter substitute used in India.
A leading GM-free soybean processor in India, the Prestige group has grown in the past two decades to reach an annual turnover of Rs.6.0 billion (€0.1billion). The company currently has five soya processing solvent extraction plants producing over 800,000 MT per year.
In recent years Indian exports of non-GM soy to Europe have increased thanks to the ever wary European consumer, exporting 56,000 tonnes to France in 2000 on the GM-free ticket.
According to the latest edition of Oil World, India is forecast to produce 22 to 23 million tons of oilseeds in 2003/04 (October-September) after widespread monsoon rains. Imports by India, the world's largest buyer, might reduce marginally if the current crop estimates materialise, added the report.
In July this year Bunge reaped a strong second quarter with net income more than tripling to $182 million (€158m), up from $50 million in 2002, significantly boosted by a gain of $111 million from the sale of its Brazilian soy ingredients unit to newly formed soy company Solae, Bunge's joint venture with DuPont.