BOSTON — Bunge Ltd. has a lot going on in its agribusiness side, and carving out a global asset footprint in areas such as Asia, Eastern Europe and the Black Sea is just part of that growth, said Jackie Fouse, chief financial officer.
Ms. Fouse told analysts at the Barclays Capital Back-to-School Conference on Sept. 10 that Bunge remains focused on emerging markets that present good growth opportunities. As an example, she mentioned the fact Bunge has increased its share of the world grain business significantly over the past two or three years by building the business in Europe.
"We have plants now in Eastern Europe that have come on line, are up and running in Russia, the Ukraine," she said. "We will continue to develop our capabilities in the world grain trade."
She mentioned the potential of the 50% stake Bunge acquired of the Phu My Port in Vietnam last October, as well as the prospects for a new export grain terminal project currently under way in the Pacific Northwest.
"That’s a new part of our footprint that would be located in the U.S., which is a developed market, but designed to handle trade flows that are going into faster growing markets of Asia," Ms. Fouse said of the Pacific Northwest project.
In addition to grain, Bunge’s agribusiness is receiving a boost from the company’s sugar platform. A relatively new category for Bunge, Ms. Fouse said the company is developing its expertise in biofuels and is focused on Brazil for the initial phases of its strategy execution.
"We believe in the long-term sustainability of sugar ethanol as a biofuel," she said. "It has good efficiency in terms of its energy ratios, lower greenhouse gases and all those sorts of things. The Brazilian environment is a low-cost production environment for sugar cane. There is very good strong core demand domestically in Brazil."
Looking to the future, Ms. Fouse said Bunge sees Brazil as a key area to export product from.
"We think that the export market out of Brazil will develop over time for sugar ethanol as certain barriers come down," she said. "But as the demand continues to grow globally in places like Japan, the U.S., for the product, then we think we’ll be well positioned to take advantage of that as it develops."