Spanish food group Sos Cuetara is emulating archrival Ebro Puleva’s incursion into the booming biofuels market.

The company has set up a new biofuels division which it says will help boost revenues in 2008, a company spokesman told just-food today (16 October).

Sos will begin production of biodiesel at its Andujar cooking-oil factory in Jaen, Spain. The company will invest EUR30m (US$37.56m) to EUR35m to build the plant, which will make the fuel from the site’s stock of sunflower, soy, palm and jatropha seeds, the spokesman said.
The plant will be ready in late 2007, make 200,000 tonnes a year of biodisel and deliver domestic sales of EUR120m in 2008.
The biofuels sector is burgeoning around the world, boosted by legislation requiring that a certain percentage of it be mixed into transport petrol. Biofuels are said to help lower Co2 emissions and help curb global warming although the extent of their efficacy is under dispute.

Sos, which has made big acquisitions in recent years, also expects net profits and revenues to rise sharply in 2006. The spokesman said that group net profits rose to EUR10m in the first half of the year and that it will continue to rise strongly by year end, helping Sos recover from a 73% net-profit plunge last year. He added that revenues will leap to EUR1.5bn from EUR1.3bn last year.

This year’s profit hike will stem from a healthy olive harvest, which is helping stabilise olive-oil feedstock prices after big increases last year.Revenues will be boosted by the integration of the recently-aquired Carapelli and Lassy olive-oil and rice brands, as well as from organic growth, the spokesman noted.