Featured moment: Destrehan, Louisiana, U.S.
The 1960s was an important time for U.S. soybeans, when production rapidly expanded due to growing demand in destination markets like Europe and Japan (as well as continued demand from the domestic livestock industry). Soybean exports increased during the decade to a point in 1969 where we saw for the first time in history that the U.S. exported more than half the soybeans it produced – 52%.
It was during this critical period that Bunge opened its Destrehan elevator in 1961 – the largest export grain-handling elevator of its kind on the Mississippi River. Two years later, Destrehan made history by loading the largest shipment of grain ever (at the time) aboard a single vessel from one elevator – 73,500 tons of wheat. And later in the decade, Bunge expanded in Destrehan by building its first U.S. soybean processing plant in the Port of South Louisiana in 1967, which further solidified Bunge as a major player in the export market.
The Mississippi River plays a critical role in U.S. exports, moving grains from the farms in the Midwest to port terminals along the Gulf Coast. Sixty percent of all grain exports from the U.S. is shipped on the Mississippi River through the Port of South Louisiana, making Destrehan an important addition to Bunge’s global footprint.
As Destrehan grew over the years, new enhancements were added, including computerized controls in the 1990s that replaced old manual switches, and wiring that automated all conveying systems and scales. In the early 2000s, a new barge unloader was installed, increasing barge unload capacity while minimizing breakage issues.
Recently, in 2017, Bunge completed a significant upgrade of the port facility, replacing the existing dock and shiploaders with new equipment that accommodates large post-Panamax-size vessels, permits simultaneous loading of multiple commodity vessels and improves environmental performance with a state-of-the-art dust control system.
Today, Destrehan is one of Bunge’s busiest port facilities, handling soybeans, corn, wheat and sorghum from over 50 grain elevators along the Mississippi River. These crops, along with soybean meal and soybean oil, are exported to Bunge’s customers in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. To this day, Destrehan remains the only port-based crushing plant in the Central Gulf Export Corridor, and is uniquely positioned to load vessels with grain and meal from a single berth.
Featured moment profile: Ceval
In 1997, Bunge acquired Ceval, a leading soybean processor and producer of soy meal and oils in Brazil that was responsible for 2% of all Brazilian exports at the time. This acquisition made Bunge the largest agribusiness company in Brazil, operating 48 industrial units that produced an array of consumer products including margarine, edible oils and fats. Exame, the leading business magazine of Brazil, called the transaction "the largest acquisition of the year outside the financial sector."
With Ceval, Bunge became the world's fifth largest processor of soybean meal, and in Brazil, the national leader in agribusiness, vegetable oils and margarine.
In 2000, Bunge merged the operations of its soy processing subsidiary, Santista Alimentos, with Ceval’s, and began operating the combined entity under the name Bunge Alimentos.
Today, those operations are now part of Bunge’s global Food & Ingredients business in Brazil, selling grains and producing oils, margarines, mayonnaises, wheat flour and ready-mixed products for the food industry and bakeries as well as ingredients for animal feed.
Featured moment: Phu My port, Vietnam
In 2008, Bunge acquired a 50% stake in Phu My port in Vietnam. Located on the Thi Vai River, the port is approximately 70 km from Ho Chi Minh City and near a large number of commercial feed mill operations. It is one of two commercial dry bulk ports in Vietnam capable of receiving large, Panamax-class ships.
This opportunity has enabled Bunge to serve customers in the growing market for agricultural commodities in Vietnam, a country with a population of 93 million, a rising middle class, and an increasing urban population. As the Vietnamese diet is becoming more protein-rich with an increase in consumption of animal products, the country has a fast growing market for soybean meal, which is used in hog and poultry feed, and other agricultural commodities.
The agricultural sector makes up more than 20% of Vietnam’s gross domestic product and it is expected to grow to $51 billion USD by 2020. In 2016, Vietnam imported over 1.5 million tons of soybeans and nearly 5.1 million tons of soybean meal. Its rising aquaculture production has also contributed to an increase in imports of feed ingredients such as corn and wheat.
Other Bunge activities in Vietnam include a crushing plant in Phu My, which was established in May 2011. We also strengthened our crushing footprint in the region in December 2016, when we formed a joint venture with Wilmar, the world’s largest palm oil processor, and Quang Dung, a leading soybean meal distributor in Vietnam. This combination connected Bunge’s upstream crushing capabilities to Wilmar’s downstream oil refining and consumer products business, and to Quang Dung’s feed milling and marketing activities.
Featured moment: La Plata Cereal
Bunge’s history in Argentina dates back to 1884, the year Ernest Bunge, the grandson of Bunge’s founder, Johann Bunge, launched Bunge & Born with his brother-in-law, Jorge Born. In 2001, there was another major turning point in Argentina when Bunge acquired a leading grain originator La Plata Cereal, becoming one of the largest soybean crushers and grain exporters in the country.
The acquisition of La Plata Cereal included a fertilizers division, thus incorporating a new business unit into the company. Solidifying Bunge’s footprint in Argentina, this transaction not only expanded Bunge's capabilities, but also strengthened it to serve import markets in Asia and Europe.
In line with La Plata Cereal’s commitment to production, Bunge continued to participate in strategic partnerships in order to offer a wide range of products and services. Today, Bunge stands out as one of Argentina’s leading companies in grain trading, oilseeds processing, export of by-products and production and marketing of fertilizers and biodiesel. Bunge in Argentina also offers wheat flour, rice, refined oils and lecithins for human consumption.
Featured moment: Walter Rau Neusser
In 2016, Bunge acquired a controlling stake in Walter Rau Neusser Öl und Fett AG. It supplies customized vegetable oil solutions for food manufacturers and food service operators predominantly in Western Europe. (Note: Walter Rau in the town of Neuss is separate from Walter Rau Lebensmittelwerke in Hilter, a German manufacturer of consumer margarines and dressings that Bunge acquired in 2008.)
Walter Rau in Neuss produces edible oils and fats products from more than 50 different vegetable oils to create custom product solutions for large-scale commercial customers. This includes companies that make some of our favorite foods such as bakery products, french fries, hearty snacks, meat products, margarine, dairy products and confectionary.
The addition of Walter Rau Neuss has allowed Bunge to expand and diversify our product offerings, and spur growth in research and development and innovation. This, along with our recent acquisition of a 70 percent ownership interest in IOI Loders Croklaan, has contributed to making Bunge a global leader in B2B oil solutions with expanded value-added capabilities, reach and scale across core geographies.
Related Bunge activities in Germany include our 2017 acquisition of Lindemann, a leading supplier of B2B spread solutions to both the industrial and artisanal channels of the Western European bakery market. This contributed to building a more robust B2B oils and fats business and further strengthening our presence in Northern Europe.
Featured moment: Whole Harvest
In 2015, Bunge purchased Whole Harvest Foods, an expeller-pressed cooking oils company in North America focused on producing ingredients for clean label and clean menu products. Since then, we’ve built Whole Harvest® into a brand that includes expeller-pressed oils, ancient grain breadings, healthful extruded snacks and other premium food products. The brand also includes a line of products independently verified by the Non-GMO Project.
The addition of Whole Harvest®’s value-added products to Bunge’s food and ingredients portfolio has also expanded our logistics capacity, as well as our research and operational expertise. Bunge’s packaging plant in Warsaw, North Carolina, was our first U.S. packaging plant with the capability of producing Non-GMO Project Verified products, and we’ve since expanded this capability to Bunge oils facilities in Modesto, California, Harrowby, Manitoba, Canada and Oakville, Ontario, Canada, and Bunge grain facilities in Woodland, California and Crete, Nebraska. This broader footprint allows us to provide foodservice operators in the U.S. and Canada a scalable supply of competitively priced Non-GMO Project Verified products.
Adding non-GMO and minimally processed menu offerings at restaurants is a major driver of growth in the food service industry today, and Bunge has an important role to play in this growth.
Featured moment: Bunge Foundation
In commemoration of its 50th anniversary in Brazil in 1955, Bunge created the Moinho Santista Foundation (today called Fundação Bunge or Bunge Foundation), a nonprofit organization promoting the sciences, literature and arts in Brazil. Today, Bunge Foundation focuses on initiatives that enhance the advancement of science, education and natural resources conservancy. The main programs include the following:
- Comunidade Educativa: Created in 2002, this is a program focused on volunteering. More than 700 Bunge employees and 16 Bunge facilities in Brazil have volunteered at schools, hospitals, children’s shelters and senior care centers in their local communities.
- Semear Leitores: This program promotes reading among children. Bunge has donated books and developed “reading spaces” with easy access to books for children in 32 public spaces such as libraries and community centers in nine states in Brazil.
- Comunidade Integrada: This program seeks to contribute to the sustainable development of the regions in Brazil in which Bunge operates. This includes providing education, health and social protection for children and people with disabilities, technical training and development for entrepreneurs and more.
- Centro de Memória Bunge: The Bunge Memory Center is responsible for the preservation of the historical heritage of Bunge in Brazil. It holds one of the richest Brazilian corporate memory collections including photos, videos, films, maps, documents and paintings, and also offers historical and cultural services such as exhibitions and classes.
The Bunge Foundation also awards Prêmio Fundação Bunge, or the Bunge Foundation Award, annually to outstanding people in different branches of science, literature and the arts. Since its inception in 1955, more than 190 Brazilian professionals have been awarded with this prize.
Featured moment: Bunge in India
Featured moment: Bunge in Ukraine
In 2016, Bunge launched a modern, state of the art Industrial Transshipping Complex in the port city of Nikolayev in Ukraine. The largest export crushing facility in Ukraine, it was built to receive, process and export agricultural products and commodities and to serve markets in Europe, the Middle East and India. The complex includes a new oilseed crushing facility run on sustainable green energy and an upgraded grain terminal, which has a storage capacity of 133,000 tons.
The multi-seed, multi-feed plant can process 790,000 tons of oilseeds annually and the oil extraction plant has a storage capacity of 37,000 tons of sunflower seeds, 24,000 tons of meal, and 12,000 tons of sunoil.
Ukraine is considered the “breadbasket of Europe” for its large agricultural industry. It is the largest sunflower seed originator in the world and other major exports include wheat, barley and rapeseed.
Bunge has been present in the Ukrainian market since 2002, and also operates the Dnipropetrovsk oil extraction plant in Ukraine, which produces the leading sunoil brand, Oleina.
Featured moment: Bunge in Argentina
Argentina has played an important role in Bunge’s global footprint since 1884, when Ernest Bunge and Jorge Born launched grain trading company, Bunge y Born. Since then, many milestones in Bunge’s history have taken place in the country. Some notable ones include the opening of Bunge’s first food processing plant in Argentina in 1899 and the acquisition of Molinos Río de la Plata, one of the largest wheat mills in the country, in 1902. Bunge acquired La Plata Cereal in 2001, enabling it to become one of Argentina’s largest soybean crushers and grain exporters.
In 2005, Bunge opened a port terminal at the Ramallo industrial complex in Argentina. The terminal, which today has a storage capacity of 390,000 tons of seeds and byproducts, and 25,000 tons of crude oil, also includes an oilseed crushing plant and a facility for the production of single superphosphate, a key ingredient in fertilizer.
Other important moments from Argentina include the creation of the fertilizer company, TFA, in a joint venture with Asociación de Cooperativas Argentinas (an agricultural cooperative) in 2014, and Bunge’s 2017 acquisition of Aceitera Martínez, a family-run business specializing in the production and packaging of edible oils.