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GMO-FREE PRODUCTS: Mitsui to buy 25% of Brazil's Multigrain to secure GE-free soybeans







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TITLE:  MITSUI TO BUY 25% OF BRAZIL'S MULTIGRAIN TO SECURE SOYBEANS

SOURCE: Bloomberg, USA

AUTHOR: Dave McCombs

URL:    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ajsZWiP0bvGA

DATE:   09.08.2007

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MITSUI TO BUY 25% OF BRAZIL'S MULTIGRAIN TO SECURE SOYBEANS

Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Mitsui & Co., Japan’s second-biggest trading company, will buy a 25 percent stake in Multigrain AG, a Sao Paulo-based grain handler, to secure increased supplies of soybeans from Brazil.

Mitsui, which invests more in Brazil than in any other country, will buy the stake in Multigrain’s Swiss holding company, the Tokyo-based trading house said today in a release. The stake will cost about 30 billion yen ($251 million), the Nikkei newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.

The purchase would help the company expand access to non- genetically modified soybeans, which Japanese consumers prefer. The U.S., which supplies about 75 percent of Japan’s soybean imports, has almost doubled the percentage of genetically modified beans it produces to 91 percent as of this year, from 54 percent in 2000, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Shares in Mitsui closed up 25 yen, or 1 percent, to 2,430 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Mitsui last month said it would invest $200 million over three years to expand its locomotive and bulk rail-car fleet in Brazil, focusing on routes between soybean growing regions in Mato Grosso state and Atlantic Coast ports. The company declined to comment today on how much it would pay or other details of the agreement with Multigrain, which could not be immediately be reached for a response.

Multigrain, which gets about 80 percent of revenue from soybeans, will use Mitsui’s money to build more storage and transportation facilities, the Nikkei reported.

 

Non-GMO Food

Japan consumed about 4.3 million tons of soybeans last year, 1 million tons for edible uses, the rest for oil and animal feed. Non-genetically modified beans are used mostly to make tofu, miso paste and soy sauce because Japanese consumers consider genetically modified crops to have health risks. Multigrain exports about 1.5 million tons of the oil seed a year.

Japan’s soybean imports will probably climb to 4.15 million tons in the year starting October 2007, from 4.10 million tons this marketing year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. Brazil is the world’s second-biggest grower of the oilseed after the U.S. China is the world’s biggest importer.

Mitsui has investments of $2.5 billion in Brazil, more than any other country, said Kazuhiko Ono, chief financial officer of Mitsui’s rail unit in Brazil, in a July 20 interview. Future investments may include truck-to-rail transfer terminals and railway track, he said at the time.


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