New buyer found as miscanthus specialist goes into administration

A group of private investors have come to the rescue of energy crop specialist Bical, after the company went into administration on Monday (23 November).

The group of four unnamed individuals paid the administrators Milsted Langdon an undisclosed sum for the old company and have formed a new company, to be called Renewable Energy Crops. Bical’s subsidiaries, which include the grower groups BiSel and BiEd supplying key customers like Drax power station and EDF, did not go into administration and were not part of this week’s sale.

Renewable Energy Crops director Graham Kerslake said all growers who supplied rhizomes to Bical would be taken on to new REC contracts, while miscanthus growers supplying the subsidiaries would also have the opportunity to sign up to new contracts once details of the new company had been finalised.

“We’ll be calling all affected growers individually to reassure them that they’ll be looked after,” he told Farmers Weekly on Wednesday (25 November). “They’ll have the opportunity to sign up to new contracts, or alternatively some may decide to supply end-users directly through their own local supply groups.

“The fact Bical has been acquired so quickly is actually very good news for the energy crops industry,” he added. “The company didn’t get into trouble because miscanthus isn’t working; it was down to turbulence in the financial markets which affected the availability of capital to the small and medium-sized enterprise market. End-user demand for miscanthus is still very strong.”

That feeling was echoed by East Yorkshire grower Tom Nash, whose brother John started growing miscanthus in 2005 to supply Drax through BiSel. He has since gone on to form a separate grower group, Miscanthus Growers Ltd, which shares information about the crop with around 70 local growers.

“Thankfully the crop, its potential and place in the environmental and economic agenda has never been in question and the main local customer for green energy, Drax, has moved quickly to confirm its commitment to the crop,” he said.

NFU members concerned by the changes at Bical can get advice by calling NFU Call First on 0870 845 8458.

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