Glencore takes majority stake in Biopetrol

on December 30 2009 11:14 AM

AMSTERDAM - Swiss commodities trader Glencore has taken a majority stake in Swiss-German company Biopetrol Industries AG, which underwent financial restructuring earlier this year.

Biopetrol said Glencore had acquired 50 percent of the biodiesel producer, plus one share, from previous majority shareholders, and has the option to increase its holding to a two-thirds majority.

The changes in market conditions in the biofuels industry have made it necessary to achieve further economies of scale and extend the value chain, Biopetrol said in a statement released late on Tuesday.

It said combining Glencore's trading platform and Biopetrol's plants would help ensure Biopetrol's full production capacities were utilized in the mid-term.

Biopetrol has production capacity of about 350,000 tonnes of biodiesel at two sites in Germany, and is starting up a 400,000 tonnes biodiesel plant in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The biofuels producer has struggled with a collapse in biofuels sales due to higher taxes on the green fuel in Germany and weak demand in slowing economies.

It agreed a financial restructuring programme earlier this year that allowed it to continue operations, after announcing it could not pay bond coupon interest and was looking at restructuring as an alternative to an insolvency.

The transaction with Glencore is subject to approval by anti-trust authorities, Biopetrol said.

(Reporting by Catherine Hornby; Editing by David Cowell)