US agribusiness giant Bunge has placed a bid to buy two soya processing plants in Brazil from local soya crusher Imcopa, reinforcing its position as the country’s biggest oilseeds processor, Reuters reported on 18 February.

Two sources familiar with the transaction told Reuters that Bunge agreed to pay about BRL50M (US$12M) for the plants while assuming debt of around BRL1bn (US$225M) related to the assets, located in the state of Paraná.

In a statement, Bunge confirmed making a bid for the assets, adding that it was awaiting a court decision to continue with the process, but declined to give more details.

Bunge was the only company to submit a bid in the auction, according to one of the sources.

In a statement, Imcopa, now restructuring debt in a bankruptcy court, said it had received one offer for the plants but it did not name the bidder.

Reuters said that as Brazil’s top oilseeds processor, Bunge’s latest move would help it expand a lead over rival Cargill. Cargill owned eight active oilseed crushing units in Brazil and Bunge owned 12, according to 2018 data from national oilseeds group Abiove.

Imcopa said on its website that it had the capacity to crush 1.5M tonnes/year of soyabeans, producing up to 240,000 tonnes of soya protein concentrate.