Bunge Limited sells its elevators, including one in Vidalia

Published 7:00 pm Friday, May 1, 2020

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VIDALIA — Bunge Limited announced they’ve agreed to sell 35 of their U.S. interior elevators to Zen-Noh Grain Corporation. The sale includes the grain elevator located on the Mississippi River at Vidalia, local officials said.

The Zen-Noh Grain Corporation, founded in New Orleans, is the U.S. Subsidiary of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations of Japan, Zen-Noh.

The company announced they had reached an agreement to acquire 35 operating U.S. grain elevators along the Mississippi River from Bunge in a news release last week. Closing on the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

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“This transaction will allow Bunge to operate more efficiently and reinvest in higher returning areas of the company while reducing costs and strengthening our balance sheet,” said Greg Heckman, Bunge’s Chief Executive Officer in a news release last week. “Bunge will continue to be an industry leader in the U.S. grain marketplace through global grain trading and distribution with our export terminals in Destrehan, Louisiana, which we are expanding, and EGT, our joint venture in the Pacific Northwest.  We will also continue our strong presence in the soybean processing business and milling operations.”

Bunge representative Deb Seidell confirmed Friday that the Vidalia grain elevator was included in the sale.

Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said the facility would remain open through the transition of ownership and that he hoped the new owners would continue to provide a much-needed outlet for the local grain industry.

“We’re very hopeful that businesses and industries will continue on and hope for a better year next year after COVID-19,” Craft said. “We certainly embrace all industrial investments to our community.”

Bryant Killen, the deputy director of the Vidalia Port Commission who also serves Lake Providence and Tensas Parish, said he is hopeful that the sale of Bunge’s grain elevators would bring more jobs and more business to the port facility and to the Louisiana area.

Bunge utilizes transport on the Mississippi River and stores grain products such as soybean, corn, milo, wheat and other products for export to consumers in the U.S. and worldwide, Killen said. 

“I’m very optimistic about what (Zen-Noh Grain Corporation) brings to the table, impacting Concordia Parish for sure but also the more agriculturally dominated parishes further north — Tensas Madison and East Carroll,” Killen said. “I think it would have a greater impact on those parishes because (farming) is mostly all they have. Up there, you either work at the school, the bank or you farm. I hope, at the end of the day, it will bring more jobs to the area.”

Natchez Inc. Deputy Director Heather Malone said she expects the new company to do well at the facility.

“I feel like it is a thriving grain elevator and the new company will do well at that facility,” Malone said.