A new plan to rescue cash-strapped Argentine crusher Vicentin has been made by the province of Santa Fe and agreed by the country’s President Alberto Fernandez, AgriCensus reported on 22 June.
As the rescue plan involved Santa Fe assuming the crushing company’s liabilities, it would mean that full-scale nationalisation could be avoided.
Global soyabean giant Vicentin has faced financial problems since defaulting on payments to grain suppliers and brokerage firms in December 2019.
Vicentin was believed to owe approximately US$350M to grain suppliers, with a total debt of around US$1.5bn, AgriCensus said.
Government plans to take Vicentin under public control were badly received and sparked protests and it had since backtracked.
The alternative plan was designed by Santa Fe governor Omar Perotti after a Santa Fe court ruled against the government’s plan and ordered the reinstatement of the original Vicentin management team.
“We are working on this together with the president. He agrees to the plan, under this process the expropriation can be left aside,” Perotti was reported by AgriCensus as telling La Nación.
Santa Fe’s proposal would involve taking control of Vicentin through provincial channels rather than via federal nationalisation. This would mean Fernandez would not need Congress approval for the plan, where he does not hold a majority.
“For us, expropriation is a tool to recover the company, it is not an end in itself. If there is an alternative plan that achieves the same objective, I will gladly listen to it and analyse it,” Fernandez was reported to have said in a radio interview.
Meanwhile, the Vicentin family took back control of the bankrupt crusher.