Grain News

Bunge North America to Idle Production at Cairo, IL Soybean Processing Plant

Date Posted: February 25, 2003

St. Louis, MO--Bunge North America, the North American operating arm of Bunge Limited, announced February 25 that within the next 4 to 8 weeks it will idle production at its soybean processing facility located in Cairo, IL due to a weak margin environment caused by declining demand for domestic soybean meal in the short-term and a smaller than anticipated U.S. soybean crop.

In announcing the action, John Klein, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bunge North America, stated, "While we continue to believe that long-term prospects for soybean processing in the U.S. are attractive, this is the first time since 1989 that domestic consumption of soybean meal is running below the previous year.

"Factors adversely affecting demand for soybean meal include lower demand from the pork and poultry sectors, which have experienced production cutbacks, and record crops in South America. Near-term margins are being impacted by this year's U.S. weather-reduced soybean crop.

"Reluctantly, we have concluded that it is prudent to decrease production at our Cairo facility."

For more information, call 314-292-2000. Charlie Bussey, Senior Vice President of Bunge North America and General Manager of its Oilseed Processing Division, commented, "We regret stopping production at any facility and realize the impact on employees and the Cairo community. However, we must take this action to realign our oilseed processing capacity for better performance."

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