A deal to rescue leading global soyabean supplier Vicentin is at risk due to court delays and Argentina’s most severe drought on record, Bloomberg reported.
The bankruptcy of Vicentin SAIC more than three years ago disrupted oilseed trading in Argentina, the leading exporting nation of soyabean meal and soyabean oil used in food and biofuels, the 2 June report said.
Following a period of instability, which included a failed nationalisation bid, the company seemed to have secured its future after creditors and crop suppliers agreed to restructure US$1.3bn of debt, with a consortium led by Glencore-backed Viterra and global agribusiness giant Bunge set to take over operations, Bloomberg wrote.
However, a combination of drawn-out proceedings in a provincial bankruptcy court and severe drought in the South American country had put the deal at risk, Estanislao Bougain, a Vicentin board director, was quoted as saying.
Judge Fabian Lorenzini was taking much longer than usual to approve the restructuring, according to Bougain.
Vicentin had met the court’s deadline a year ago to reach an agreement with debtors – including major banks such as Rabobank and Credit Agricole, as well as grain brokerages across the Argentine Pampas, the report said.
At the time of the report, Lorenzini’s court had declined to comment, Bloomberg wrote.
If the delays continued, the company’s takeover could be at risk, according to Vicentin.
Viterra was quoted as saying it remained committed to Vicentin’s restructuring plan, while Bunge declined to comment.
“The drought means companies are no longer bringing their grain to Vicentin,” Bougain added. “We’re running low on work but our overheads are still there.”
The delay in proceedings also came as Bunge and Viterra were in merger talks, the report said.
Argentine soyabean crushing is the biggest overlap between the two companies, according to Goldman Sachs Group.