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Bunge reorganizes to promote growth plans

By staff reporter , 22-Nov-2006

Oilseed processor Bunge has appointed new leaders to a number of its business units as part of a general reorganization strategy designed to support the company's growth plans.

The announcement comes a month after the St. Louis-based firm posted encouraging third quarter results after a period of sharp losses and unstable performance.

 

In October Bunge announced a 19 percent increase in net income for the quarter ended September 30 2006 to $179m, after adjustments to its South American business allowed the firm to stabilize disrupted business in the region. This helped recover a sharp hit to its performance in the last quarter, when profits plunged 90 percent.

 

And as the firm enters its second financial half with high hopes for an improved performance, it announced yesterday the promotion of five people as part of a company reorganization. The new positions include general mangers for its Oilseed Processing division (Greg Bechtel), its Milling division (Rodney Perry) and its Grain division (Bailey Ragan). Other positions created were general manager for the newly-formed Biofuels unit (Todd Bastean) and manager for the new industrial management department (Mike Snow).

 

These latest promotions follow Bunge North America's creation of three executive vice president positions last month.

 

"The goal of the reorganization is to ensure that our structure will support our growth plans," said Carl Hausmann, president and chief executive officer of Bunge North America.

 

"While the executive vice presidents will work closely together to identify and pursue growth opportunities across the value chain, Todd, Greg, Rodney, Bailey and Mike will concentrate their efforts on maximizing the potential in each of their areas of responsibility," he added.

 

The company said it expects the new appointments will allow the firm's divisions to work well with each other to ensure its operations are fully integrated and aligned.

 

The company's performance has recently been hit by a tough South American operating environment, after a quarter of its soybean processing plants in Brazil were affected by farmers' protests.

 

The firm has so far closed five oilseed processing facilities, which it said improved capacity utilization in Brazil. The industry also reduced soy crushing volumes in Argentina, which resulted in a rise in Bunge's processing margins in the country.

 

On the announcement of improved third quarter results, Bunge chairman and chief executive officer Alberto Weisser said the environment for the firm's business began to improve during the period.

 

"Bunge's operating results were substantially better when compared to a weak first half and were stronger than in the same quarter last year. We expect improvement in business conditions to continue as we move into 2007," he had said.

 

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