US agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland started operations this week at its joint venture crusher in China with a big daily soybean crushing capacity of 3,600 tonnes, an official said on Tuesday.
ADM has a 30 per cent stake in Greatocean Oils & Grains Industries, the joint venture with initial investment of $35.5 million based in southern coastal city of Fangchenggang in the Guangxi region, the official said.
Singapore's Wilmar Holdings holds another 30 per cent and China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Import & Export Corporation (COFCO), the country's top state grain trading firm, owns the rest of the 40 per cent in the venture, he said.
"The joint venture, which crushes mainly foreign soybeans, is expected to produce 220,000 tonnes of refined soyoil and 900,000 tonnes of soymeal a year," he told Reuters.
China's total crushing capacity would reach to 30 million tonnes a year by the end of 2002, industrial analysts said.
China's crushing capacity has been ballooning in recent years, making it the world's largest soybean buyer with 2001 imports at 14 million tonnes, official figures showed.
A COFCO official told Reuters the state-owned firm, ADM and Wilmar have five joint venture crushers or refineries in China, including the Greatocean, the latest to come on stream, but declined to give a figure for the total capacity.
The other four are Eastocean Oils & Grains Industries Co, Ltd based in Zhangjiagang in Jiangsu, the Yellowsea Oils & Grains Industrials Co Ltd in Rizhao in Shandong, Northsea Oils & Grains Industries Co in Tianjin and Eastbay Oils & Fats Industries Co Ltd in Guangzhou, said the official.
Eastocean, built in 1993, has two soybean crushing facilities, each with daily crushing capacity of 6,000 tonnes, according to COFCO's website www.cofco.com.