Toll deals secure stricken crusher Vicentin’s return to full capacity

Troubled Argentine crusher Vicentin has returned to full production at its soybean crushing plant at San Lorenzo for the first time...

Troubled Argentine crusher Vicentin has returned to full production at its soybean crushing plant at San Lorenzo for the first time since it defaulted on its contracts back in December 2019, the company has confirmed.

Bouyed by strong prices in global vegetable oil markets, a company spokesperson confirmed to Agricensus that the firm’s crushing plant in San Lorenzo in Santa Fe province is currently working at its full crushing capacity.

The return has been made possible thanks to a number of toll agreements with companies including grain cooperative ACA and Union Agricola Avellaneda, among others.

The plant has a monthly crushing capacity of approximately 400,000 mt, the spokesperson said.

“The plant is working at its full capacity... and during March and April, Vicentin has toll agreements that will guarantee the use of the total capacity,” the source added.

Vicentin had previously inked a toll agreement with grain exporter Diaz & Forti to operate most of the capacity of its San Lorenzo crushing plant, but the firm is not currently crushing as it too ran into financial difficulties.

“Considering the impossibility of crushing given its situation, in February Díaz & Forti ceded crushing capacity... This allowed the Vicentin plant to maintain its activity, reaching a crushing capacity of 385,000 mt,” Vicentin said in a statement.

“The signing of these short-term agreements will also allow the company to operate with full capacity during the month of March and part of the month of April,” the statement continued.

Vicentin also recently reactivated its sunflower crushing plant in Ricardone, Santa Fe, after negotiating a toll agreement with local cooperative Unión Agrícola de Avellaneda (UAA).

The Ricardone crushing facility has a daily crushing capacity of 4,000 mt.

Vicentin has faced huge financial troubles since December 2019, when it defaulted on paying grain suppliers and brokerage firms as the company struggled to make debt repayments.

A lower than expected 2020/21 soybean crop in Argentina is expected to cut crushing volumes in the country by 4%, according to a recent report by the Rosario Grain Exchange (BCR).

With the revised production outlook, BCR now expects the domestic industry will crush 37.5 million mt of soybean in the current crop cycle, down 1.5 million mt compared with the February estimate.

That compares with 36.8 million mt crushed in 2019/20, BCR said.

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