Rhodia eyes investment in Brazil's ethanol, biomass industries

26 November 2009 13:04  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Rhodia is interested in developing more chemical products in Brazil based on ethanol as a renewable raw material, as well as increasing the energy produced from biomass, the French specialty chemicals company said on Thursday.

Press reports had said on Wednesday that Rhodia was eyeing possible take-overs in Brazil's ethanol industry, including Equipav, in a bid to expand in biofuels.

“Biomass is a field that Rhodia is investigating. In that perspective, we are assessing some opportunities,” a company spokesperson said.

“We are having some discussions with players in the field of sugar cane/ethanol, but at this stage, there is no concrete project,” the company added.

Brazilian daily newspaper Valor Economico quoted Marcos de Marchi, head of Rhodia's Latin America operations, as saying the company was interested in producing ethanol in Brazil 

"We are one of the biggest purchasers of ethanol for industrial purposes," de Marchi said.

Valor said, without explaining how it had obtained the information, that Brazil-based infrastructure company Equipav, which is up for sale, was a possible buyout target, as were 10 other ethanol mills.

Mario Lindenhayn, Rhodia vice president with responsibility for polyamide intermediates and solvents in Brazil, said on the sidelines of the 28th Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) annual meeting last month that the company was increasing its global sales force and technical support services for oxygenated solvents ahead of a possible capacity increase in Brazil.

“We see good opportunities for developing the portfolio of solvents, based on local raw materials such as ethanol,” he said.

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By: Franco Capaldo
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