|Traded as||NYSE: BG|
Russell 1000 Component
|Founder||Johann P. G. Bunge|
|Headquarters||White Plains, New York, United States (operations); Bermuda (legal domicile)|
|Products||List of products|
|Revenue||US$ 45.743 billion (2018)|
Number of employees
Bunge Limited (formerly Bunge International, and prior to that Bunge y Born) is an American agribusiness and food company, incorporated in Bermuda, and headquartered in White Plains, New York, United States. As well as being an international soybean exporter, it is also involved in food processing, grain trading, and fertilizer. It competes with Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland. The company has approximately 32,000 employees in 40 countries.
Formation and listing
Bunge y Born was founded in 1818 by Johann Peter Gotlieb Bunge in Amsterdam, it was relocated to Antwerp by Edouard Bounge in 1859. Edouard's brother; Ernest Bunge, took the Bunge name to Argentina in 1884, and in 1905 the business extended to Brazil and later on to the United States. The company was converted into the Bermuda-registered Bunge International in 1994, retaining the Bunge y Born name only in Argentina. Bunge remained a privately held company of 180 shareholders (including the longtime controlling family interests) and divested itself in 1998 of almost all its retail foods interests in favor of a greater role in international agribusiness and commodity markets; by then the company's gross annual turnover had reached US$13 billion. Bunge ultimately went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2001, becoming Bunge Limited.
In 1994, the Bermuda-registered Bunge International was created as the main company in which the families had shares. There were around 180 shareholders—the main families were Hirsch, Bunge, Born, Engels, and De La Tour. This replaced the older structure in which individual shareholders had stakes in all the different Bunge companies. Now only in Argentina does the Bunge y Born name still exist.
In 2001, under the leadership of Alberto Weisser, Bunge was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Through their three businesses—agribusiness, fertilizer, and food products—they have established a leading global presence in the farm-to-consumer food chain. Bunge is the world's largest oilseed processor, the world's number one seller of bottled vegetable oil to consumers and the largest producer and supplier of fertilizers to farmers in South America.
In 2004, Bunge acquired Cereol, parent of oilseed companies Central Soya and CanAmera Foods. In 2008, Bunge acquired Walter Rau, a margarine company, from Germany. In 2009, Bunge acquired the margarine business from Raisio Group, maker of functional food ingredients. In 2017, Bunge announced intentions to acquire a 70% stake in IOI Loders Croklaan for $946 million from Malaysian palm oil producer IOI Corp Berhad.
Brazilian sourcing protests
In 2012, Bunge came under criticism from NGO Survival International for sourcing its sugarcane from the ancestral land of the Guaraní people in Brazil. It has been reported by the tribe that crop production has brought pesticides and machinery that has damaged their health, as well as restricting them to a small area that has prevented them from hunting and practicing their traditions. Also, in January 2003, opposition from the tribe had led to the killing of their chief Marcus Vernon by ranchers. In 2012, survivors were requesting Bunge follows the example of the company Raízen, which agreed to stop the sourcing of sugarcane from the area.
In May 2017, Glencore in Switzerland began pursuing the acquisition of Bunge. In early June 2017, Bunge hired advisers to help it fend off Glencore's takeover interest. In January 2017, Archer Daniels Midland agreed to sell its crop risk services (insurance) unit to Validus Holdings for $127.5 million. On January 19, 2018, it was reported that Archer Daniels Midland had approached Bunge Ltd. about a takeover, with details "unclear." At that point, Bunge had a market value of about $9.8 billion, and was still being pursued by Glencore.
The company's operations include:
- originating oilseeds and grains from the world's primary growing regions and transporting them to customers worldwide;
- crushing oilseeds to make meal for the livestock industry and oil for the food processing, food service and biofuel industries;
- producing bottled oils, mayonnaise, margarines and other food products for consumers;
- crushing sugarcane to make sugar, ethanol and electricity;
- milling wheat and corn for food processors, bakeries, brewers and other commercial customers; and
- selling fertilizer to farmers.
In 2006, the United States Environmental Protection Agency filed charges against Bunge company regarding pollution emissions. This involved twelve soybean processing plants and corn mills in eight states throughout the US. The lawsuit claimed Bunge violated the Clean Air Act by constructing major modifications that increased emissions. Bunge was required to implement engineering changes and pollution control projects, estimated to cost $12 million, to reduce emissions at the facilities by 2,200 tons a year. The settlement also called for Bunge to pay a cash penalty of $625,000 and to spend $1.25 million to fund community-based environmental projects selected by and to be supervised by the impacted states. The state of Kansas will receive $22,000 of the $625,000 civil penalty, this being issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
In November 2005 yearа Bunge created in Europe production joint venture biodiesel with French company KBBV and Diester Industrie. The new company received the name Diester Industrie International. The joint venture will produce biodiesel in Germany, Austria and Italy. The total capacity of the plants will reach 430 thousand tons biodiesel per year.
- Soren Schroder, CEO, Bunge Limited
- Todd Bastean, CEO, Bunge North America
- Thomas M. Boehlert, Chief Financial Officer, Bunge Limited
- Gordon Hardie, Managing Director, Food & Ingredients, Bunge Limited
- Enrique Humanes, CEO, Bunge Southern Cone
- Tommy Jensen, CEO, Bunge Europe, Middle East & Africa
- David G. Kabbes, General Counsel and Managing Director, Corporate Affairs
- Pierre Mauger, Chief Development Officer, Bunge Limited
- Raul Padilla, CEO, Bunge Brazil
- Deborah Borg, Executive Vice President - Chief Human Resources Officer, Bunge Limited
- Brian Thomsen, Managing Director, Bunge Global Agribusiness and CEO, Bunge Product Lines
Former team members:
- Frank Jimenez, General Counsel, Secretary and Managing Director, Corporate Affairs, Bunge Limited
- Christopher White, Senior Advisor, Bunge Limited
A noteworthy case of transfer mispricing came to light in 2011 in Argentina involving the world’s four largest grain trad-ers: ADM, Bunge, Cargill and LDC. Argentina’s revenue and customs service began an investigation into the four companies when prices for agricultural commodities spiked in 2008 and yet very little profit for the four companies had been reported to the office. As a result of the investigation, it was alleged that the companies had submitted false declarations of sales and routed profits through tax havens or through their headquarters. In some cases, they were said to have used phantom firms to buy grain and had inflated costs in Argentina in order to reduce the recorded profits earned in the country. According to the country’s revenue and customs service, the outstanding taxes amounted to almost USD 1 billion. The companies involved have denied the allegations. To date, the Argentinian tax authorities have not replied to the Swiss NGO Public Eye’s request regarding the current state of the case. In its 2018 annual report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bunge mentioned provisions which suggest that the case is still ongoing: “[A]s of December 31, 2018, Bunge’s Argentine subsidiary had received income tax assessments relating to 2006 through 2009 of approximately 1,276 million Argentine pesos (approximately $34 million), plus applicable interest on the outstanding amount of approximately 4,246 million Argentine pesos (approximately $113 million]).”
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