Bunge Ltd, the world’s second-largest sugar trader, plans to invest US$2.5bn in Brazil over the next five years to boost output of sweetener and ethanol.

The company plans to invest the cash between 2012 and 2016 to boost capacity at eight mills in Brazil, the world’s largest sugar producer and exporter.

The plan will boost sugar-cane crushing capacity to 30m metric tons a year from 21m tons now, the New York-based company today (19 August) said in a statement.

Chief Executive Officer Alberto Weisser said: “We are very positive on the sugar and ethanol outlook.”

“Our investments come at the right moment, as the world is yearning for food and clean energy.”

The company may also consider producing corn-based ethanol in Argentina, Weisser said.

This week Bunge North America, the North American operating arm of Bunge Limited, bought the margarine assets of the US company CF Sauer for an undisclosed sum.