PARIS Feb 1 Sofiproteol and U.S. agribusiness
group Bunge have decided to pull three out of five
biodiesel plants from a joint venture in Europe, the French
oilseed group said on Friday.
The chief executive of Sofiproteol, owner of Europe's
largest biodiesel maker Diester Industrie, had told Reuters last
week that the two firms were in talks to review their
partnership in Diester Industrie International (DII), a spinoff
in which Bunge's European subsidiary KBBV has a 40 percent
Under the deal, Diester Industrie would take over DII's
Belgian plant, Oleon Biodiesel, while Bunge would take over
Novaol Austria and Mannheim Bio Fuel (MBF) in Germany,
Sofiproteol said in a statement.
DII will keep its plant in Livorno, Italy, where production
was halted a year ago due to overcapacity. Sofiproteol CEO
Jean-Philippe Puig said last week there were no plans to restart
DII will also keep its 50 percent share in Germany's Natural
Energy West (NEW) alongside local partners.
The split will cut the capacity of DII, created in 2005, to
700,000 tonnes a year from 1 million, Sofiproteol said.
Diester Industrie also has seven plants in France.
Biodiesel is only one of several activities of Sofiproteol,
controlled by French oilseed growers, along with vegetable oil,
animal feed and green chemicals. The group had a turnover of
around 7 billion euros ($9.3 billion) in 2012.