Bunge Europe, a global agribusiness and food company, has announced plans to increase the rapeseed crushing capacity of its plant in Mannheim, Germany, in an effort to supply the expanding rapeseed oil market and to better serve its food customers.

The Geneva-based company will adapt the facility’s existing soybean crushing line to process both soybeans and rapeseeds. The total capacity of the facility will be increased to approximately 1.3 million metric tons, with the new rapeseed crushing capacity expected to begin production in the second quarter of 2006.

Bunge said the project will enhance its ability to supply the growing German market for rapeseed oil, a primary component of biodiesel.

The growth in demand for biodiesel is changing the landscape of the German vegetable oil market, stated chief executive Jean-Louis Gourbin. We have decided to install additional capacity in Mannheim to supply this expanding market and to better serve our food customers.

By creating a soy/rape line and adding new capacity, Bunge expects to improve the flexibility and efficiency of the Mannheim plant, enhance the company’s position as a leading supplier of oil and meal to customers in southern Germany and further strengthen its ties to the local farming community, from which it intends to purchase additional rapeseeds.