SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — Cargill announced on Feb. 2 plans to build a new corn processing plant in Brazil to produce starches and sweeteners solutions. The company will invest R$350 million to keep up with rising customer demand in Brazil. The new plant will add around 30% to Cargill´s existing corn crushing capacity in South America.

The new facilities will be based in one of three Brazilian states under consideration. A decision on location is expected in the first quarter of this year with the plant scheduled to start operating in 2013.

This is Cargill´s second investment in this business in a little over two years. In March 2010 the company concluded an expansion that increased the capacity of the starches and sweeteners plant in Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, by 70%. The expansion of the Uberlândia facilities represented an investment of R$197 million, which also included a new boiler to produce clean electric energy from biomass that supplies 70% of local energy needs.

"The partnership with our customers and rising domestic demand were key aspects that drove our investment. Cargill´s global leadership team sees with great optimism the growth of business in Brazil," said Gonzalo Petschen, leader of the company´s South America starches and sweeteners business.

Corn-based ingredients are part of the everyday lives of consumers. Dairy products, candies, confections, beverages, bread, animal feed and paper industry raw materials are examples of products that use Cargill starches and sweeteners.

Additionally, the new plant may also have a line dedicated to new corn-based ingredients, some that had previously not been available in the Brazilian market. Cargill has proprietary technologies, developed on a worldwide scale, that provide food-ingredient and industrial solutions for the company's customers.

"Discussions are at an advanced stage, and we hope to have these innovations available for our customers soon," Petschen said.