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01-05-2012 17:24:00

UPDATE: DuPont Buys Full Ownership Of Solae Venture From Partner Bunge

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--DuPont buys Bunge's 28% stake in Solae venture

--DuPont pays Bunge $440 million

--Bunge to invest proceeds in core businesses

(Updates to include financial terms of deal in 1st paragraph, Bunge earnings in the 6th paragraph and comment by CFO in the 7th paragraph)

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. paid Bunge Ltd. (BG) about $440 million to acquire full ownership of Solae LLC, their soy-based ingredients venture, as DuPont looks to expand its position in the food ingredients market.

DuPont previously owned 72% of the venture while Bunge owned the remaining 28%.

The companies formed the venture in early 2003 to produce and distribute specialty food ingredients. At that time, DuPont estimated initial global revenue from Solae to exceed $800 million annually. In exchange for its specialty-food-ingredients businesses in 2003, Bunge was to receive the 28% interest in the venture plus an estimated $260 million, which was funded by joint-venture debt.

DuPont said its long-term segment financial targets are to post a 7% to 9% compound annual growth rate for sales and to expand pretax earnings margins 12% to 14%. With full ownership of Solae, DuPont expects to reach the upper end of its margin targets with planned synergies.

The chemicals giant last month reported its first-quarter profit rose 4% as higher pricing and a jump in sales of agricultural products contributed to a 12% sales increase.

Meanwhile, Bunge reported last week its first-quarter earnings fell by a greater-than-expected 60% as weak prices for fertilizer and its sugar-based ethanol hurt margins, though revenue grew 10%.

The Solae deal allows Bunge "to redeploy capital into our strategic, core businesses," said Chief Financial Officer Drew Burke in a statement Tuesday.

-By Melodie Warner, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2283; melodie.warner@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 01, 2012 11:24 ET (15:24 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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