Bunge is to acquire a controlling stake in Cereol, a Spanish leading oilseed processor, from Edison for €821.4 million.
Bunge will assume Cereol's debt upon closing the deal, which is expected to be completed between late 2002 and early 2003, subject to regulatory approvals in the United States and the European Union.
Alberto Weisser, chairman and CEO of Bunge, said: "The acquisition of Cereol makes Bunge the largest oilseed processor in the world with nearly 34 million metric tons of oilseed processing capacity. It expands our agribusiness operations in North America and substantially enhances our presence in Europe, giving Bunge an even better geographic balance. It adds scale, enabling us to operate more efficiently through better logistics and higher volumes. It enables Bunge to reach a larger number of customers, with more products and better service. Bunge will be better positioned to grow more quickly, give employees more opportunities and deliver enhanced value to our shareholders."
The transaction will make Bunge the world's leading oilseed processing company, with integrated operations across the globe. Bunge claims the acquisition will increase its scale and efficiency, expand its global reach and result in a more stable financial profile due to better geographic balance and a wider product portfolio.
In 2001, Bunge - already the largest soybean processor in the Americas and the largest producer and supplier of fertilisers to South American farmers - reported net sales of $11.5 billion (€11.39bn) and operating income of US$527 million.
Cereol, which is based in France and has operations in North America and Europe, is a leader in the processing of oilseeds, principally soybeans, rapeseed, canola and sunflower seed, and in the manufacturing, distribution and sale of food oils, meals for animal nutrition and food ingredients such as proteins and lecithins. In 2001, Cereol reported net sales of €4.7 billion and EBITDA of €272.7 million. Cereol employs approximately 6,100 people and has 52 industrial plants in Europe and North America.