Sojaprotein May Import Soy Beans After Drought Cut Serb Harvest

Sojaprotein AD (SJPT), the biggest soy bean processor in the Balkans, may have to import the beans for the first time in a decade after a drought cut the local harvest.

The Serbian company may buy as much as 15,000 metric tons of soy beans, probably from neighboring Croatia, Romania or Hungary that ban genetically-modified crops like Serbia, General Manager Branislava Pavlovic said in an interview today. Sojaprotein needs more than 200,000 tons a year and the drought reduced the harvest available for all processors by 35 percent to 284,500 tons, she said.

Victoria Group, which controls Sojaprotein, plans to almost double annual exports after it completes a 100 million-euro ($126 million) investment program by the end of next year, Zoran Mitrovic, co-owner of the group, said after touring the plant with the head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Suma Chakrabarti.

“We are here long-term with you,” Chakrabarti said. “We see huge potential in the sector.”

The EBRD controls 21.4 percent of Victoria Group and lent 10 million euros to Sojaprotein in March.

To contact the reporter on this story: Misha Savic in Belgrade at msavic2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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