Glencore renews interest in Vicentin Renova stake: source

3 Jun 2020 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Glencore has made a new offer to acquire Argentine crusher Vicentin’s remaining stake in Renova, an industry source with knowledge of the matter told Agricensus.

In December 2019, cash-strapped Vicentin sold one-third of its stake in the oilseed crusher to Glencore Agriculture, leaving the major trading house with a 66.67% stake and taking effective control of the joint venture that produces soymeal, soyoil and biodiesel at its plants in San Lorenzo and Timbues.

Vicentin currently retains 33.33% ownership of Renova.

“Glencore had previously made an offer for the remaining stake for a total of $325 million but it expired in March. The company had 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.

Vicentin has faced huge financial troubles since  December 2019, when the crusher defaulted on paying grain suppliers and brokerage firms as the company struggled to make debt repayments.

Producers immediately suspended trade with the crusher, and crushing facilities were stopped.

Vicentin currently owes approximately $350 million to grain suppliers, while the firm’s overall debt including local and foreign banks is estimated at $1.5 billion.

Vicentin is still working to reach a private agreement with its creditors in the grain segment with the aim to resume some crushing activities.

The agreement, which needs to be approved by a court, requires an acceptance of at least 66.6% of the debt.

According to local press reports, investment group Carval, controlled Jose Luis Manzano, an Argentine businessman and former Interior Minister during the presidency of Carlos Menem and a group headed by Ciro Echesortu, a former top executive of Louis Dreyfus, have also made offers to acquire Vicentin.

“There would certainly be several offers for Vicentin as the company has very attractive assets,” the source said.

Vicentin did not immediately respond to Agricensus’ emails seeking comments.