BP TO EXPAND ETHANOL PRODUCTION
By Antonio Guerrero
Aiming to accelerate industrial growth, the Brazilian government extended its PSI investment program through 2013, providing $48 billion in financing to support subsidized loans for industrial producers to invest in capital goods.
Ten-year loans will be provided at a rate of 3% during the first half of the year, rising to 3.5% for the second half. The rate had previously been as high as 5.5%.
The government unveiled a $26 billion plan to improve Brazil’s port infrastructure. Among the ports to be modernized is the one in Santos, ranked as Latin America’s largest. Most investments will be made between 2014 and 2017. Tenders will favor private-sector bidders who can move the greatest cargo volumes at the lowest rates.
CMPC, Chile’s second-largest pulp producer, will invest $2.1 billion to expand its Brazilian plant in Guaiba. CMPC will increase its output there by 1.3 million tons of pulp by 2015, from a current annual production of 450,000 tons. The company will seek a $1.2 billion credit facility from the Brazilian government’s BNDES development bank to finance the expansion.
The UK’s BP oil company will invest $350 million to double output capacity at its Tropical ethanol complex in Brazil, to 5 million tons, by the end of 2014 or early 2015. BP will develop 35,000 hectares of sugarcane plantations and build a new mill with a capacity to crush 2.5 million tons of cane per year for ethanol production. Brazil is the world’s second-largest ethanol producer, after the US.