Glencore renews interest in Vicentin’s stake in Renova

Anglo-Swiss commodity trading and mining giant Glencore has made a new offer to buy Argentine soya giant Vicentin’s remaining stake in oilseed crusher Renova, an industry source told AgriCensus on 3 June.

The renewed interest followed Glencore’s acquisition of one-third of Vicentin’s stake in Renova in December 2019, taking the former’s share to 66.67%, effectively giving it control of the joint venture.

“Glencore had previously made an offer for the remaining stake for a total of $325M but it expired in March. The company submitted a new offer last month for the same amount as part of Vicentin’s bankruptcy protection process being overseen by a court in Santa Fe province,” the source said.

Investment group Carval had also made offers to acquire Vicentin, according to local press reports.

Vicentin has faced financial problems since defaulting on payments to grain suppliers and brokerage firms in December 2019.

The soya crusher went on a credit-fueled expansion last year before political uncertainties sparked a market crash and led international banks to pull back from the global soyabean oil export leader, further pressuring the company, Reuters said.

Producers had suspended trade with Vicentin, which halted crushing operations and is believed to owe approximately US$350M to grain suppliers, with a total debt of around US$1.5bn.

On 9 June, Vicentin said it had not been informed of government plans to nationalise it, MercoPress reported.

“We claim the legitimacy of protecting the rights of an Argentine company and its shareholders ... within a preventive bankruptcy process,” the company said.

Among the alternatives in consideration were the sale of assets or an association with Argentine companies, including oil and gas firm YPF Agro, it added.

Renova was established by Glencore and Vicentin in 2006 and operates a soyabean crushing and processing plant in Timbues producing oil, meal and lecithin, as well as a site in San Lorenzo with plants for neutralising and refining oils, and for biodiesel and glycerine production.

The Timbues plant is located on the right bank of the Coronda river in Santa Fe province and has the capacity to crush 32,500 tonnes/day of soyabeans. It has its own port facilities and loads soyabean oil, meal and corn for export.

Glencore Agriculture operates more than 35 processing and refining facilities in 11 countries, including 15 oilseed crushing plants, 12 processing mills and six biodiesel processing facilities.

The company’s soyabean crushing plant in Argentina produces thousands of tonnes of vegetable oil and protein meals annually.