Argentine Soy Crusher Vicentin in Talks to Sell Majority Stake

The once-mighty but now cash-strapped Argentine soy crusher Vicentin said on Thursday that it is starting talks to sell a majority stake to export firms Viterra, Molinos Agro and Argentine cooperative ACA, Reuters reported. Argentina is the world’s No. 1 supplier of soymeal feed, used to fatten hogs and poultry from Europe to Southeast Asia. And family-owned Vicentin was the country’s top exporter of soy byproducts before falling into bankruptcy in 2019. “A majority group of Vicentin shareholders have accepted a non-binding expression of interest presented by three companies, with extensive experience in the industry, to evaluate the possibility of acquiring a majority stake,” Vicentin said in a statement. It added that the three parties had jointly expressed their interest in a possible acquisition. Last year the government proposed taking the company over, but dropped the plan after an outcry from the local farm sector. The purchase by Viterra, ACA and Molinos would involve months of due diligence with a deal needing approval by shareholders, Vicentin’s bankruptcy judge and the company’s creditors. When it ran out of cash, Vicentin left farmers and banks holding more than $1 billion in bad debts. Creditors accused Vicentin of having used credits destined for the purchase of grains to finance other businesses. Vicentin denies any wrongdoing. Read more.