Bunge Europe, part of US food and agribusiness giant Bunge, has announced plans to increase the rapeseed crushing capacity of its plant in Mannheim, Germany.

The company will adapt the facility’s existing soybean crushing line to process both soybeans and rapeseeds. In addition, the total capacity of the facility will be increased to approximately 1.3 million metric tons. New rapeseed crushing capacity is expected to come online in the second quarter of 2006.

The project will enhance Bunge’s ability to supply the growing German market for rapeseed oil, a primary component of biodiesel.

“The growth in demand for biodiesel is changing the landscape of the German vegetable oil market,” said Jean-Louis Gourbin, CEO of Bunge Europe. “We have decided to install additional capacity in Mannheim to supply this expanding market and to better serve our food customers.”

By creating a soy/rape line and adding new capacity, Bunge said it expects to improve the flexibility and efficiency of the Mannheim plant, and enhance the company’s position as a leading supplier of oil and meal to customers in southern Germany.