Judge clears way for Argentine crusher Vicentin to restart exports

3 Jul 2020 | Juan Pedro Tomas

The judge overseeing Argentine financially-troubled crusher Vicentin’s preventive bankruptcy process has ordered the national tax agency to lift export restrictions on the company.

The move would allow the crusher to start exporting products such as soybean derivatives for the first time in six months.

The tax agency (AFIP) restricted Vicentin’s grain and derivatives exports at the end of last year due to the lack of payment of grain export duties and other taxes.

In his ruling, Judge Fabián Lorenzini ruled that the main goal of the preventive bankruptcy process is to allow the company to survive and preserve jobs, an outcome that would be thwarted by an export ban.

On May 14, Vicentin had asked the judge to lift all suspensions in the registry of importers and exporters, as it exports 90% of its production.

The company’s plants are currently crushing soybean after the firm had signed toll agreements with third companies.  

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

Producers immediately suspended trade with the crusher and its plants ground to a halt.

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

“Vicentin had been previously authorised to resume purchases of grain and the company has acquired a very low amount of grain so far and I believe they will continue to buy very limited amounts of grain,” an industry source told Agricensus.

“If export restrictions are fully lifted by AFIP, the company will be allowed to close some export deals, which would be limited, but they will be useful for Vicentin to resume some level of activity and to preserve the value of its assets,” he said.