FRANCE – Boortmalt, a subsidiary of France’s largest grain cooperative, Axereal, has closed the acquisition of the malt business of global agribusiness company, Cargill.

The transaction, whose financial terms were not disclosed, involves acquisition of Cargill’s 16 malthouses in nine countries with a total production capacity of 1.7 million tonnes and nearly 600 employees.

Cargill Malt serves the brewing, food, and beverage industries by originating and transforming malting barley into malt. Cargill is the largest privately held corporation in the United States and the world’s third-largest maltster.

The acquisition strengthens Boortmalt’s capacity and capability in serving the brewing industry across the globe, with opportunities to grow the malt business further into becoming world’s leading malt producer by volume.

Commenting on the transaction Jean-François Loiseau, President of the Axereal Group said “This acquisition meets our two strategic objectives:  Firstly, to invest in the downstream of barley to increase the value of our farmers production in France and internationally, and especially in growing markets. 

“Secondly, we have a long-term vision for our cooperative farmers.   This acquisition will help ensure that our trajectory is competitive. We at Axereal are leading the way for the agricultural transition with industrial innovation that provides quality food whilst respecting the environment.”

Axereal Chief Executive Officer Paul-Yves L’Anthoën added; “This acquisition is a major step in our co-operative’s strategic plan: it allows us to diversify our sources of value, and it bolsters the group’s position in a growing sector.”

Cargill’s global malting business is estimated at US$1 billion with operations in Belgium, Spain, Germany, France and the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Argentina.

Axereal said that the acquisition will bring Boortmalt’s total capacity to 3 million tonnes, with 27 malting plants on five continents, making it the world leader in the production of malt.

Yvan Schaepman, Chief Executive Officer of Boormalt added “Such a takeover offers us new growth prospects and will enable us to better mitigate risks, particularly those linked to climate change.

“It also allows us to accelerate the development of new malting barley varieties and to create new malts. With this acquisition, we are pursuing our primary ambition: to become the best Maltster in the world.”

Axereal is already one of the world’s largest malt manufacturers along close players Malteries Soufflet and Malteurop as well as French grain groups Soufflet and Vivescia, mainly supplying barley-based malt to brewers.

The headquarters of Boortmalt will remain in Antwerp, Belgium as well as the research and development centre, making the Antwerp malthouse the biggest in the world.