BP announces expansion of biofuels business in Brazil

by World Grain Staff
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MINAS GERAIS, BRAZIL — BP announced on March 11 that it has agreed to acquire majority control of the Brazilian ethanol and sugar producer Companhia Nacional de Açúcar e Álcool (CNAA). When CNAA’s assets are fully developed, this is expected to increase BP’s overall Brazilian production capacity to around 1.4 billion liters of ethanol equivalent per year.

BP has agreed to pay approximately $680 million to acquire 83% of the shares of CNAA and to refinance 100% of CNAA's existing long-term debt.

After the acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval and agreed closing conditions, BP will become the operator of two producing ethanol mills, located in Goiás and Minas Gerais states. A third CNAA mill is currently under development in Minas Gerais state.

“Low carbon energy will play an increasingly significant role in meeting world energy demand. BP is committed to producing biofuels to help meet this demand. Today's transaction also fits BP's strategy of increasing our exposure to growing energy markets,” said Carl-Henric Svanberg, chairman of BP.

According to the recently published BP Energy Outlook 2030, alternative energy is expected to be the fastest growing energy sector over the next 20 years, with global biofuels production projected to more than triple.

“This strategic acquisition underlines BP’s commitment to building material businesses in growing economies and continued expansion in Brazil through exploration and production, as well as biofuels investments”, said Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive. “This is the biggest acquisition to date for BP Alternative Energy as we continue to build a leading low carbon fuels business.”

Commenting on the deal, Philip New, vice-president of BP Biofuels, added, “This acquisition is a key milestone in our strategy of building a leading position in sustainable and scalable biofuels. It will provide a solid growth platform for our business.

“As operators, we are focused on safe, reliable, sustainable and profitable activities. We will bring investment, technologies and capabilities which complement the existing knowledge and expertise.”

Key facts about the acquisition:

  • BP has agreed to pay approximately $680 million to acquire 83% of the shares of CNAA and to refinance 100% of CNAA's existing long-term debt.
  • The sellers are: Açúcar e Álcool Fundo de Investimento em Participações and Açúcar e Álcool II Fundo de Investimento em Participações.
  • BP will acquire two operational mills and a third that is under construction. All the mills are in the Center-South regions of Brazil, in Goiás and Minas Gerais states.
  • Around 2,500 people are employed across the three mills.

    The mills will be able to supply both Brazilian and international markets with ethanol.
  • The agricultural land used for sugar cane cultivation related to these projects is all within the areas permitted under Brazil's proposed Agro-Ecological Zoning of Sugarcane (Zoneamento Agroecológico da Cana-de-açúcar).
  • The total planned combined crushing capacity of all three mills, when fully developed, is expected to be 15 million tonnes of sugar cane per year. At full capacity, each mill will have a production capacity of about 480 million liters of ethanol equivalent per year.
  • Each mill will also have the capacity to supply approximately 340GWh of electricity per year to the grid.

Since 2008, BP has held a 50% share in Tropical BioEnergia S.A., which operates an ethanol mill in Goiás state with a production capacity of 435 million liters of ethanol per year. The ownership and operation of this mill is not impacted by this acquisition.

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