Special Edition: Aquaculture Feed Innovation

AgriProtein buys Belgian insect protein producer

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
AgriProtein is to acquire Belgian insect feed company Millibeter. The deal is subject, though, to shareholder approval.

In terms of what this investment cost AgriProtein, Jason Drew, AgriProtein CEO, told FeedNavigator today:

“We will only be able to comment on the financial aspects of the investment once the deal has been formally approved by shareholders.”

Millibeter is located in a campus in Turnhout, Antwerp. The company uses the black soldier fly (BSF) to convert organic substrates, such as vegetable waste, into feed protein for the aqua feed sector, among other products.

AgriProtein also announced that it would fund the construction of the first full-scale Millibeter factory in Belgium.

Drew said that facility will break ground in 2019 and will come on stream in 2020.

“Millibeter has an existing production facility that will become our R&D center in Europe - together we are building a standard G series factory that will take in 250 tons of waste per day and produce 12 tons of protein, 10 tons of oil and 50 tons of fertilizer.”

This acquisition of the Belgian company, he continued, would accelerate AgriProtein’s EU expansion. Millibeter, he said, brings competence in terms of an experienced team and complementary technologies.

“Most companies have their unique technology and processes - one can always learn from different approaches to tackling similar problems.

“Millibeter has an established team of chemists, engineers and entomologists that add to what we do. They also have considerable experience of the EU permitted feed landscape.”

The acquisition by AgriProtein is back-to-back with a cash investment by the Innovation Fund and other Belgian investors into Millibeter.

Global expansion 

Drew said AgriProtein, also targeted on supplying alternative protein to the aquaculture production sector, is planning to build other faciliteis as well in Europe:

“We are evaluating a number of sites in the region and seeking to break ground on two factories in 2019.”

Last year, AgriProtein started its partnership with engineering group, Christof Industries, to develop a blueprint for rapidly rolling out fly farms, with a goal of building 25 a year, and reaching 200 around the world by 2027.

The company raised USD $105m in June 2018 to support its global expansion plan, with it looking to set up three new insect protein factories in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

AgriProtein said it has recently expanded its R&D capability to over 45 people based in its chemistry and genetics laboratories in Cape Town. It said it has also hired senior staff from engineering and organic substrate management backgrounds to increase its project roll out capacity.

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