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Bunge, DuPont in Soy Development Venture

(Monday, Jan. 6, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Reuters: DuPont Co. (NYSE:DD - news), the largest U.S. chemical company, and Bunge Ltd. (NYSE:BG - news), the world's top oilseed processor, said on Monday they are forming a joint venture to take advantage of health-conscious consumers' growing demand for soy products.

The companies forecast annual revenue of more than $800 million from the new venture, Solae LLC, which will provide a broad offering of soy-ingredient products.

Soy is a key ingredient in the growing market for nutraceuticals, or foods and drinks that have added health benefits.

DuPont and Bunge will also jointly develop and sell improved soybeans and develop a broader offering of services and products to farmers.

The joint venture will initially focus on soy proteins and lecithins, an ingredient added to foods and livestock feeds for nutrition.

DuPont will receive a majority stake in Solae in return for its Protein Technologies food ingredients business.

Bunge will contribute its specialty food ingredients businesses for a 28 percent stake in the venture, which will assume an estimated $260 million of its debt. The company has the right to increase its stake to 40 percent.

In morning New York Stock Exchange (news - web sites) trade, Bunge shares were up 64 cents, or 2.7 percent, at $24.56, while DuPont rose 11 cents to $43.77.

The joint venture's board will consist of four members, two each from DuPont and Bunge.

Stephan Tanda, currently president of DuPont Protein Technologies, will be Solae's chief executive. Bunge Controller Theodore Fox III will be chief financial officer.

J. Erik Fyrwald, vice president and general manager of DuPont Nutrition & Health, will be chairman of the joint venture, and Drew Burke, managing director of Bunge Ingredients and New Business Development, will be vice chairman.