France/Belgium: Boortmalt becomes the world’s largest malting group

Boortmalt has now sealed the acquisition of the malting division of Cargill which consists of 16 malting plants in nine countries with a combined annual malting capacity of 1.7 million tons. The deal, which was already announced in December 2018 (, 20.12.2018) makes France's largest grain cooperative Axereal and its malting division Boortmalt in Antwerp, Belgium, the world leader in malting.

With a total of 27 malt houses on five continents and a total malting capacity of three million tons, Boortmalt pushes past Soufflet and Malteurope to the top of the world malt market and highlights again the dominant position of French suppliers in this segment.

Cargill, the largest privately held corporation in the United States entered the malt business 40 years ago and became one of the leading companies in its sector. However, in recent years rumors came up that the diversified agricultural conglomerate became increasingly unhappy with its malting division and looked for ways to exit the business (, 6.9.2018).The latest announcement was the closure of Cargill’s 440,000 t Spiritwood plant in North Dakota by the end of October 2018, which had been one of the largest malting plants in the world (, 17.4.2018).

Jean-François Loiseau, President of the Axereal Group said “This acquisition meets our two strategic objectives: Firstly, to invest in the downstream of barley to increase the value of our farmers production in France and internationally, and especially in growing markets. Secondly, we have a long-term vision for our cooperative farmers. This acquisition will help ensure that our trajectory is competitive. We at Axereal are leading the way for the agricultural transition with industrial innovation that provides quality food whilst respecting the environment.”

Paul-Yves L’Anthoën, Chief Executive Officer of the Axereal Group declared “This acquisition is a major step in our cooperative's strategic plan: it allows us to diversify our sources of value, and it bolsters the group's position in a growing sector. It also strengthens our relationship with the financial community.”

Yvan Schaepman, Chief Executive Officer of Boortmalt added “This acquisition offers us new growth prospects and will enable us to better mitigate risks, particularly those linked to climate change. It also allows us to accelerate the development of new malting barley varieties and to create new malts. With this acquisition, we are pursuing our primary ambition: to become the best Maltster in the world. The headquarters of Boortmalt will remain in Antwerp, Belgium along with our R&D centre and the world’s biggest malthouse.”

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