US food and agribusiness giant Bunge has said it plans to construct a sunseed crushing and refining plant in Voronezh, Russia for approximately US$70m.

The plant will be Bunge’s first in the country and, when completed in spring 2006, it will supply Bunge’s consumer bottled oil business in Russia, which is currently primarily supplied by its facility in Ukraine.

Bunge markets two bottled oil brands in Russia:  Ideal and Oleina. With these two brands and its new facility, Bunge said it believes it is well positioned to increase its bottled oil sales to this “important, yet regional and still fragmented” market.

“Bunge’s strategy is to increase its share of the country’s consumer bottled oil market by creating an efficient, domestic production chain and building a national distribution network,” said Ben Pearcy, area director for Eastern Europe.

The plant will be located approximately 375 miles south of Moscow and will have an annual crushing capacity of approximately 500,000 metric tons and an oil refining and bottling capacity of approximately 200,000 metric tons.