ITOCHU Announces Commencement of Production and Sales of Bioethanol in Tocantins, Northern Brazil
July 22, 2011
ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that ITOCHU and Bunge Limited (headquartered in New York; CEO: Alberto Weisser; hereinafter “Bunge”) commenced production and sales of bioethanol in a joint venture company, Pedro Afonso Açúcar e Bioenergia S.A. (hereinafter “Pedro Afonso”), in Tocantins, Northern Brazil.
Through JB BioEnergy Inc. (Minato-ku, Tokyo), a wholly owned subsidiary, ITOCHU holds 20% of the shares in the joint venture and Bunge owns the rest. ITOCHU is also establishing bioethanol production and sales operations with Bunge in Minas Gerais, Southeastern Brazil, at the same investment rate, and the total investment in the two projects is approximately US$800 million.
Pedro Afonso began constructing its first plant in January 2009, which was completed in July 2010. After the successful completion of trial operations, the plant began operating at almost full capacity in May 2011. Although the annual processing capacity of sugar cane at the Pedro Afonso mill is currently 2.5 million tons per year, plans are in place to expand it to 4.4 million tons.
Brazil is one of the world’s major bioethanol producing countries, holding about a 30% share of global production. As bioethanol from sugar cane is generally far more effective in reducing greenhouse gases than bioethanol from other source materials, it is experiencing rising demand as an eco-friendly fuel.
ITOCHU will contribute to the stable supply of bioethanol as a response to global warming while giving due consideration to social and environmental areas.
Outline of Bunge Limited
Bunge Limited, one of the world’s largest grain traders, was founded in 1818 in the Netherlands. It expanded into Brazil in 1905 and undertook grain production, including soybeans, wheat, and corn, as well as food production, such as margarine and olive oil. The company is now one of South America’s leading grain distributors and oilseed processors. The conglomerate boasts approximately 20,000 employees in Brazil alone. The company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2001.