Alliance Grain buys further into S. Australia

A pulse and grain crop storage and processing plant on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula is set to be the latest acquisition for a Regina pulse processor.

Just days after signing a deal to buy a pulse and grain handling terminal in the same region, Alliance Grain Traders of Regina has a letter of intent in hand to buy Northern Yorke Processors, based at Kadina, about 160 km northwest of Adelaide.

Northern Yorke’s facility is also about 60 km northwest of the Balco Holdings terminal at Bowmans, for which Alliance announced a similar agreement Aug. 30.

Northern Yorke is “ready for operation and will give us processing capacity this year to capitalize on what appears to be a promising 2010 crop while we build out the Bowmans site with new storage and processing assets,” Alliance CEO Murad Al-Katib said in a release Tuesday.

Along with the Balco site, “we now have origination and processing hubs in South Australia’s main production areas and key logistical container advantages to execute our business plan,” he said.

Australia Milling Group, which the Regina company already owns and operates in Australia’s Victoria state, will run the Northern Yorke operation.

The Northern Yorke deal will be funded as part of a C$10 million acquisition program announced along with the Balco deal late last month, Alliance said.

South Australia and the Yorke Peninsula region are “generally very reliable production areas for pulses (and) historically, the crops are more consistent and yields generally hold up well in cases of drought,” Al-Katib said previously.

Building in Turkey

Alliance, which bills itself as the largest lentil and pea splitting company in the world, on Tuesday also noted it has started work on two construction projects in Turkey, where it owns pulse and durum processing operations.

The two projects include a short-cut pasta line at its Arbella processing facility in Mersin, on the country’s southeastern Mediterranean coast near Cyprus, and a “state-of-the-art” rice processing mill near Edirne, about 220 km northwest of Istanbul.

The pasta processing line is expected to add another 36,000 tonnes of pasta capacity on top of its existing long-cut pasta line, the company said. The new rice mill’s processing capacity is planned at 65,000 tonnes per year.

Both projects are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011, at a total cost of about C$15 million.

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