Bunge offloads grain terminal in Russia as biscuit maker Lotus achieves full control of Italian joint venture

EUROPE – Bunge, one of the largest agricultural commodities trading companies in the world, has sold its Rostov grain terminal in southern Russia for an undisclosed sum, according to a report by Reuters.

The news comes as Belgium-headquartered biscuit maker Lotus is consolidating its presence in Italy by achieving the full ownership of its marketing joint venture, Lotus Bakeries Italia.

Following the acquisition, Lotus Bakeries Italia will now focus exclusively on marketing Lotus Bakeries brands in the country.

“With the acquisition of full control over our entity in Italy, we’re taking our next step in this major consumer market,” said Lotus Bakeries CEO, Jan Boone.

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Meanwhile in Russia, former top managers of state grain trader United Grain Company, Marat Shaidayev and Alexei Chemerichko will become the new owners of grain terminal according to a statement released by Russian bank Sberbank, which helped to finance the deal.

As cited by Reuters, the Rostov terminal has a nominal annual transhipment capacity of 1 million tonnes and storage capacity of 42,000, which will now be open to all market players after Bunge’s exit.

The move is no surprise as Bunge has been scaling back its Russian grain trading activities in recent years.

Earlier this year, Bunge launched a new program to monitor soybean crops from its indirect supply chain in the Brazilian Cerrado region, an area at high risk of deforestation.

Dubbed Bunge Sustainable Partnership, the multinational claims its new surveillance initiative will help partners implement supply chain verification systems, including satellite and farm-scale images.

“Dealers can adopt independent imaging services or use Bunge’s geospatial monitoring structure at no cost,” the company said.

The pilot program is being carried out in partnership with Agrícola Alvorada, and data from the properties the dealer buy soybeans from have already been included in Bunge’s satellite monitoring cycle for this year.

The US-based commodities trader has also announced that Raul Padilla, president, head of Bunge’s global operations, plans to retire effective December 31, 2021.  

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The company said that his operational responsibilities will be distributed internally over the coming months even as it kick-starts the process of finding a replacement.

Padilla has been with Bunge for over 20 years and served as president, global operations since May 2019.

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