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CHS to buy Israei maker of soy protein for $133 million (12.7.2011)
by Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune

November 2011 --  CHS Inc. will boost its soybean processing business with the $133 million purchase of an Israeli soy protein maker.

Inver Grove Heights-based CHS, the nation's largest farmer-owned co-operative, has agreed to buy Solbar Industries Ltd., which produces soy protein ingredients for food makers.

"It's a significant boost for our soy protein business," said Lani Jordan, a CHS spokeswoman.

CHS has a soy protein plant in Hutchinson, Kan. With the Solbar deal, it will get four more soy protein facilities: two in Israel, one in China and one in South Sioux City, Neb.

Soy protein is used in many foods, and can be mixed with meat to lower a food producer's costs. For instance, sausage on a pizza may include soy protein, thus decreasing the amount of meat needed.

Solbar's customers include makers of a host of foods, including vegetarian products, beverages and bakery goods.

Solbar is a well-known player in the soy protein business, which is dominated by Solae, a joint venture of DuPont and Bunge Corp., said Philippe de Laperouse, an analyst with industry consultant Soyatech.

The soy protein market has been growing in recent years at an annual rate of nearly 2 percent, De Laperouse said.

Solbar's shares, traded in Israel, soared 97 percent after the deal was announced Wednesday. It is expected to close in early 2012.

CHS's soybean processing operations include crushing facilities in Mankato and Fairmont, and encompass the production of soybean oil, soybean meal and soybean flour.

Mike Hughlett • 612-673-7003

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