SLOVENIA – American multinational food processing and commodities trading corporation, ADM has made a leading equity investment in Slovenian biotechnology company Acies Bio, for an undisclosed sum. 

Acies Bio specialises in R&D and manufacturing services in functional food, sustainable agriculture, and bio-based industrial applications.  

The company develops and scale synthetic biology and precision fermentation technology for these sectors. 

The investment gives  ADM access to these capabilities, enabling it to expand its projects more quickly within the precision microbial fermentation industry.  

“Microbial technology is unlocking disruptive opportunities in sustainable agriculture, sustainable materials and fuels, and alternative proteins,” said Ian Pinner, ADM chief strategy and innovation officer. 

“We’re propelling growth opportunities by working with innovators who appreciate our unique combination of expertise, capacity and access to feedstocks.” 

Pinner further notes that owning by a minority owner in Acies Bio, opens new doors for the two companies to collaborate to meet the growing demand for products developed via microbial fermentation. 

Ethanol facility divestment 

Earlier, the US-based commodities giant announced plans to sell an ethanol production complex in Peoria, Illinois to BioUrja Group. 

BioUrja Group is a  Houston-based owner and operator of multiple businesses in the energy and agricultural commodities sector.  

Juan Luciano, CEO of ADM, said the sale of the Peoria facility was an important element of the strategic review of its dry mill ethanol assets. 

“By reducing our ethanol capacity by 135 million gallons and redeploying the resulting capital to other strategic growth investments, we’re continuing the dynamic transformation of ADM’s business portfolio that we began a decade ago,” Mr. Luciano said.  

The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks and ADM has pledged to work closely with BioUrja to ensure a smooth transition of the approximately 150 employees at the Peoria plant. 

ADM had put the Peoria plant up for sale in 2016 but pulled it off the market after failing to find a buyer. 

A year later reconfigured the Peoria plant to focus on what Mr. Luciano described at the time as “the more profitable, higher-grade industrial and beverage alcohol, and also export fuel.” 

The transition reduced the company’s ethanol capacity at that time by more than 100 million gallons. 

The sale is testimony to the company’s gravitation towards investments in green diesel.  In July, ADM announced plans to build a US$350 million dedicated soybean crushing plant and refinery in Spiritwood, ND. 

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