15 September 1995

Cargills grip on UKoilseed sector grows

CARGILL is strengthening its position in the UK oilseeds sector, with the intended purchase of Bunges Liverpool-based crushing and processing subsidiary, BEOCO.

The deal will add another 300,000t of throughput to Cargills existing 650,000t crush at Liverpool and 250,000t at Hull. It will also take Cargill into the bottling and hard fats business for the first time in the UK.

Trade estimates say the deal will give Cargill just over half the UK crush capacity. But after allowing for 500,000t of imported soya, oilseeds boss Graham Secker claims it will only then have about 30% of the UK rapeseed and linseed capacity.

What is sure is that the link-up will put Cargill close in size to ADM, the UKs main oilseed crusher at Erith in Kent. And between them the two will control most of the market, except for the small amount going to BOCMs Unitrition at Selby and the new Seed Crushers Scotland at Arbroath.

But Mr Secker did not anticipate any referral to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission and denied the loss of another buyer would affect orices to UKfarmers.

The move is another step in the exit of Bunge from UK agribusiness, following the sale of Kenneth Wilson to Associated British Foods and Dalgety. All that remains is the Desborough Grain trading and export facility in Kings Lynn whixh has now been put up for sale.

and a trading office in London. These will be wound down over the next year, said Bunge chairman George Born.