FRANCE-BASED cereal cooperative Axéréal looks set to acquire Cargill Malt to add to its existing malt subsidiary, Boortmalt, and increase its already substantial footprint beyond Europe.
The proposed deal involves Cargill Malt’s 15 facilities across four continents, and includes the company’s five Australian plants.
They have a combined annual capacity of 550,000 tonnes, and were acquired in Cargill Malt’s purchase of Joe White Maltings in 2013.
Entry into the sale agreement is subject to information and consultation procedures with employee representative bodies and, subject to regulatory and other approvals, is expected to close in the second half of 2019.
Cargill Malt’s Australian plants are located at Devonport in northern Tasmania, Minto near Sydney, Perth, Port Adelaide, and Ballarat, Victoria, where Joe White Maltings began in the 1890s.
Axereal is one of France’s leading cereal cooperatives, and specialises in growing and processing grain for the brewing, baking and livestock industries.
With operations in 13 countries, the cooperative has 13,000 members, 3200 employees, and an annual turnover of around €3 billion per year.
Boortmalt is Axéréal’s malting arm, and supplies malt to breweries of all sizes, and distilleries.
It operates 10 malting plants in Europe and produces more than one million tonnes of malt annually.
Through its facility in Antwerp, Belgium, Boortmalt exports half its total production to emerging markets, and is a market leader in the United Kingdom and Ireland, which it supplies with whiskey and specialty malts.
Cargill entered the malt business in the 1970s. Its key North American malt plants are located in Saskatchewan, Canada, as Prairie Malt, and Sheboygan in Wisconsin in the United States.
Cargill Malt also produces malt in Argentina, and has several facilities in Europe.
Along with Barrett Burston Malting, Cargill Malt supplies malt to Australia’s largest commercial breweries, as well as a large number of craft breweries, specialist users and export customers.
Cargill bought Joe White Maltings from Glencore after its Viterra subsidiary had acquired the Australian Barley Board and its assets.
Reports of Cargill looking for a buyer for its malt division have hit the news in recent months in what is believed to be an increasingly competitive global malt market.
Source: Axéréal/Boortmalt and Cargill