December 20, 2008


Noble loans US$75 million to build soy crushing plant 



Grain company Noble Argentina S.A., a subsidiary of Hong Kong's Noble Group Ltd., has received a US$75 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to build a soy crushing plant and export complex along the banks of Argentina's Parana River.


Noble will join many of the world's leading agricultural export companies, who already have major soy processing and export operations on the river banks surrounding the city of Rosario.


Noble will spend a total of US$230 million to build a plant capable of processing 2.7 million tonnes of soy a year, the Inter-American Development Bank, or IDB, said in a press release Friday (Dec 19).


The rest of the financing will come from Noble Argentina itself and other multilateral lending agencies, and may be complemented with loans from commercial banks, the IDB said.


"The IDB financing will help Argentina cement its position as a major player in the international market for soybean byproducts, as the new plant could generate more than $640 million a year in exports," IDB project team leader Martin Duhart said in the release.


Argentina is the world's third largest soy exporter and it seeds over half of all farmland with the crop each season.


The vast majority of the soy grown in Argentina each year are either exported or processed into meal and oil at the plants near Rosario before being exported.


In addition, a growing amount of soy from Paraguay, the world's fourth largest soy exporter, are shipped down river to Argentina's Rosario processing complexes before being re-exported.

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