GranBio Buys Into American Process, Plans Brazil Chemical Plant

GranBio Investimentos SA, a Brazilian cellulosic-ethanol maker, bought 25 percent of technology developer American Process Inc. and will use its equipment to turn sugar-cane residues into chemicals.

The company will install the technology at a new plant it expects to start construction on next year and have operating in 2015, Bernardo Gradin, chief executive officer of Sao Paulo-based GranBio Investimentos, said today in a telephone interview. He didn’t disclose the value of the share purchase or the capacity of the new plant.

Granbio plans to produce so-called specialty chemicals that may be used in paints or lubricants and sell them at more than five times the price of ethanol, which is typically produced from cane juice in Brazil. The company plans to build the nation’s first large-scale ethanol plant that will also run on cane waste.

“These chemicals may sell for anything in between $2,500 to $4,000 a ton compared to $700 for ethanol,” Gradin said. “The investment though is much more than that required for a cellulosic-ethanol plant.”

The chemical plant may be built in the states of Sao Paulo, Bahia, Minas Gerais or Alagoas, where it plans to build its 82 million-liter (21.6 million-gallon) a year cellulosic-ethanol facility, he said. The company intends to build one new chemical plant for every new three ethanol-fuel plants.

GranBio Investimentos is 85 percent owned by GranInvestimentos, a holding company for the Gradin family, he said. The investment arm of national development bank Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social owns the remainder.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.