BP to pursue Brazil sugarcane growth despite Bunge plantation sale

10 May 2012 17:49  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--BP plans to expand its Brazilian sugarcane activities, despite the sale of equipment and plantations to Bunge Limited, BP said on Thursday.

BP’s decision to sell equipment and plantations at the Campina Verde greenfield project in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais is a result of a sugarcane portfolio revision, said David Nicholas, BP director of media.

“The sale of Campina Verde is a result of our strategy of investing in units with expansion capacity, however Campina Verde has competition from units already established nearby with announced plans for expansion,” Nicholas said. “This is why we believe it is more value to someone other than BP.”

Nicholas confirmed that BP has invested $170m (€131m) to improve the company’s three other sugarcane sites in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and Goias.

“BP is committed to the development of our mills in Brazil. We have increased the agricultural area by 25% in 2011 and this year we intend to expand by another 35%,” he said.

Bunge Limited confirmed the purchase of equipment and plantations at the Campina Verde site.

The purchase is in line with Bunge’s commitment of a sustainable increase in the supply of food and bioenergy, said Susan Burns, communications manager for Bunge.

“The region in which these assets are located is highly productive and fits with our strategic plans in sugar and bioenergy”, she said.

The Campina Verde site is in close proximity to existing Bunge mills in Minas Gerais, she said.

Bunge operates eight sugarcane sites in Brazil, which produce sugar, ethanol and electricity through co-generation.

($1 = €0.77)

By Simon West

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