Brazilian competition authority sanctions Corbion buy out of Bunge share in algae JV

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
Corbion says the process in terms of its acquisition of the Bunge stake - 49.9% - in the SB Oils joint venture is ongoing as the Brazilian competition watchdog, Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (CADE), perhaps somewhat prematurely, rubberstamps the deal.

That JV includes a facility in Brazil, specializing in the production of algae ingredients, such as fatty acid rich, AlgaPrime DHA, for use in aquaculture and feed. 

The move by Dutch listed company, Corbion to buy Bunge’s JV share is subject to certain conditions, including finalization of long-term supply agreements, and regulatory approval. 

“We can confirm that a step has been taken by the [Brazilian] competition authority regarding a potential transaction between Bunge and Corbion – before its approval is, indeed, final,”​ a spokesperson for the Dutch listed company told us.

Third parties have the right to challenge the clearance of the transaction within 15 days of the CADE decision. 

In its Q1 2018 financial results released today, Corbion said it expects to reach a final agreement with Bunge on the share purchase before the end of June.

It also reported that it is looking to upgrade the algae production facility in Brazil.

“For the SB Oils joint venture, the priority is to address the necessary plant improvements. We will provide an update …. once the acquisition of Bunge’s joint venture share in SB Oils has been completed.”

When asked in February how much the likely capital outlay involved in acquiring full ownership of the JV would be, the Corbion spokesperson remained tight-lipped.

"We are at the discussion stage, and will not pre-empt [any outcome] by speculating on numbers now."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Bunge told FeedNavigator the sale of its stake in SB oils is in line with its previously stated goal to exit non-strategic assets and projects and focus on core activities in agribusiness and food and ingredients.  

Transfer of TerraVia assets

Corbion, which produces lactic acid, lactic acid derivatives, emulsifiers, functional enzyme blends, minerals and vitamins, only acquired its stake in the SB oils JV when it bought out the operations of the previous stakeholder, TerraVia, in September 2017, following that San Francisco based firm’s filing for bankruptcy.

It said the Brazilian industrial plant producing AlgaPrime DHA embodies the principles of sustainable production to produce algae-based products with low carbon, water and land use impacts.

As a result, AlgaPrime DHA has a lower environmental footprint and higher yield per hectare than DHA produced from most other non-marine sources, added the Dutch company.

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