Argentine soyabean crusher and processor Molinos Agro has acquired a 33% stake in biodiesel producer Patagonia Bioenergia for an undisclosed sum, reported S&P Global Platts on 4 January.

The purchase expanded Molinos’ biodiesel interests in the city of San Lorenzo, Santa Fe, with its access to nearby soyabean fields for supplies and the Paraná River for transport.

Patagonia Bioenergia also had a biodiesel plant in San Lorenzo, with 250,000 tonnes/year of capacity, which Molinos was planning to expand, S&P Global Platts quoted market sources as saying.

Argentina’s biodiesel industry market had been through a rough year with an increase in US import duties cutting sales, and a contracting economy lowering demand for diesel, the market analysis firm said.

Biodiesel production in Argentina fell 10.4% to 2.06M tonnes from 2.3M tonnes in the first 10 months of 2018. Exports fell 8.9% to 1.2M tonnes from 1.3M tonnes in the same time period.

Molinos was formed in 1902 as a unit of Bunge Ltd was sold to the Perez Companc group in 1999. Its main crushing facility is located in San Lorenzo, with a nominal crushing capacity of 20,000 tonnes/day of soya, according to Reuters.

In November 2018, US agribusiness giant ADM approached Molinos about buying its livestock feed and soya oil manufacturing plant.

ADM is the only company among the ‘ABCD’ group of global agribusinesses (also comprising Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus) that does not have crushing capacity in Argentina, according to the news agency.