Benson Hill to acquire US soy crushing operation to scale plant-based protein ingredients

USA – Food tech company Benson Hill has agreed to purchase a soybean crushing facility from Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms, as it looks to expand its ingredients infrastructure.

The investment is part of plans to scale the production of soybean products, including Ultra-High Protein soybean ingredients.

The deal which is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of this month, will be funded through the expansion of Benson Hill’s debt facility with Western Technology Investment.

Describing it as “a significant milestone,” Benson Hill revealed that the move will solidify its value chain position to support the production of a robust portfolio of proprietary, non-GMO, identity-preserved and sustainable soy protein and oil ingredients for the human food and animal feed markets”.

Bruce Bennett, president, ingredients at Benson Hill said, “The acquisition of the Rose Acre Farms soybean crushing facility represents an important next step in the execution of our playbook for growth.

“This targeted investment can ultimately provide the production capacity to deliver on our integrated business model for commercialisation and scaling of our innovative soybean products, including Ultra-High Protein soybean ingredients.”

Recent data projects that the value of the global plant protein market could surpass US$162 billion by 2030.

The company recently announced it exceeded its target to double contracted soybean acres, delivering a 133 percent year-over-year increase for the 2021 growing season. The facility will also continue to serve existing customers.

The investment also closely follows Benson Hill’s announcement in May that it was going public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Star Peak Corp II. The move may see the agri-tech firm valued at around US$2 billion.

CHS to expand soybean processing facility

In other related news, farmers’ cooperative in USA, CHS Inc, has announced a major soybean refinery expansion and renovation project at its Mankato soybean processing plant.

The more than US$60 million project is the second phase of CHS investments to capitalize on changing market dynamics and opportunities to grow market access.

When upgrades are completed, annual refined soybean oil production at the Mankato facility will increase by more than 35%.

“Trends in global consumption of refined oils such as soy, canola, and palm remain strong, especially in the renewable diesel sector, with projected continued tightening of stocks.

“We’re seeing tremendous opportunities to maximize our farmer-owners’ investments in high-performing assets and infrastructure,” said Tom Malecha, CHS vice president, global grain and processing operations.

Groundwork for CHS strategic growth plans to participate in burgeoning oil markets began in October 2019, with a 24-month construction project at its Fairmont, Minn., which increased soybean crush capacity by 30%, and replaced outdated equipment.

Along with improvements to fully optimize soybean oil refining, related Mankato plant improvements include upgrading and expanding the entire refining process, and improving process flows to reduce operating costs. Project completion is expected in late summer 2023.

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