January 7, 2004



Argentina's Molinos To Operate The Country's Largest Soy-Processing Plant By 2005


Molinos Rio de la Plata will operate the Argentina's largest soy-processing plant by 2005, crushing 17,500 tonnes of soybeans per day, the company said on Tuesday.


Molinos, owned by Argentina's Perez Companc, plans to invest $80 million to expand the crushing capacity of one of its plants and build a new port, through which some 9.5 million tonnes of farm products will be exported per year.


"The expansion of Molinos Rio de la Plata's San Lorenzo plant includes a new production line to crush 12,000 tonnes of soybeans per day ... this project will add to the actual capacity of 5,500 tonnes per day," the company said in a statement.


The project in San Lorenzo, Santa Fe province -- in the heart of Argentina's soybelt -- will create 1,000 jobs and knock Louis Dreyfus & Co.'s 12,000-tonne-per-day soy processing plant out of first place.


Molinos expects to start construction this month, once municipal approvals come through, and the company said "the plant will be operating by the beginning of the 2005 harvest," which kicks off in March.


This investment reflects the highly competitive nature of the soy business in Argentina, where top companies -- such as Cargill, Bunge ltd., Nidera and Argentina's Aceitera General Deheza -- have built some of the world's largest plants.


About Molinos


The Perez Companc family bought Molinos in 1999 from Bunge, which sold the company to focus on its traditional primary materials business.


Molinos is one of the top elaborated-food companies in Argentina and operates in 30 countries in the Americas, Asia and Europe.

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