Business Briefs

People, Partnerships & Deals
By Erin Voegele | December 06, 2012

1. RSB Services Foundation, the implementing entity of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, which has developed a Global Sustainability Standard and Certification System for biofuel production, has added John Slade as regional director for business development in North America. Slade has nearly 20 years of experience in the biofuels industry in North America and Asia. He has spent most of his career in the enzyme business. Prior to joining the RSB, Slade served as a strategic consultant for DSM NV, and spent 17 years at Novozymes. He has also held positions at Cargill Inc. and currently holds two biotechnology application patents.

2. Archer Daniels Midland Co. has named Gary Towne as vice president of ADM Corn Processing. Towne previously served as chairman of the management board of Alfred C. Toepfer International G.m.b.H., a global grain merchandising company that is 80 percent owned by ADM. He also previously served as ADM’s manager of Global Risk and Ethanol. In addition, ADM has named Domingo Lastra as chairman of the management board of ACTI. He previously served as president of ADM South America and as ADM’s vice president of Business Growth.

3. Highwater Ethanol LLC has added Luke Schneider as its chief financial officer. Prior to joining Highwater Ethanol, Schneider served as chief financial officer for Heron Lake BioEnergy LLC., where he also held a variety of other positions, including senior accountant and staff accountant. The appointment became effective Dec. 3, and coincided with the resignation of Brian Kletscher from the position of interim chief financial officer. Kletscher will continue as the company’s CEO.

4. Platts, a division of the McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., has completed its acquisition of Kingsman SA, a privately held, Switzerland-based provider of price information and analytics for the global sugar and biofuels markets. The acquisition will expand Platts’ capabilities in biofuels, provide an entry into the agriculture markets and add skills in fundamental market analysis. Kingsman offers a range of daily, weekly and monthly reports covering ethanol, biodiesel and sugar. As a unit of Platts’ new agricultural group, Kingsman will continue to offer its existing product portfolio under the Kingsman brand led by its founder, Jonathan Kingsman.

5. Industrial enzyme producer Novozymes and cellulosic biofuel company Beta Renewables, part of Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi, have announced an agreement to jointly market, demonstrate and guarantee cellulosic biofuel solutions. As part of the agreement, Novozymes will acquire a 10 percent share in Beta Renewables, paying approximately $115 million for the equity, marketing fees, other intellectual property rights and milestone payments. The two companies will offer customers looking to produce biofuels from agricultural residues, energy crops and other cellulosic feedstocks a combination of Novozymes Cellic enzymes and Beta Renewables’ Proesa engineering and production technology.

6. Evogene Ltd., a developer of improved plant traits for the food, feed and biofuel industries, has announced the launch of its Phenomix platform, which utilizes advanced proprietary technologies for the collection, storage and integrated analysis of vast amounts of phenotypic data directly from the field. Through the use of Phenomix, Evogene researchers can evaluate crop behavior in environments closely resembling growth conditions existing in commercial agriculture. The two key data types utilized by Evogene’s infrastructure for improving plant traits are phenotypic and phenotypic. Phenomix provides a direct field-to-computer research communication channel that constantly streams physiological, structural and environmental data inputs from the field. The platform was successfully validated in an 18 acre field trial of various wheat varieties.

7. Atlas Commodity Markets has announced the promotion of Bob Shults to president of Atlas Commodity Holdings. Shults is a cofounder of the firm, and has been responsible for daily operations and development of its business since July 2006. In his new role, Shults will ensure strategic focus on new opportunities and manage the changing regulatory environment. Prior to founding Atlas, Shults served as managing direct of commercial services and a member of the executive management committee for APX Inc. He also served on the board of directors of the Environmental Markets Association. He has more than two decades of experience in the energy sector in trading, origination, risk management, technology, operations, accounting, regulatory, strategy, project management, and project development.

8. Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc. has entered into an asset purchase agreement to sell 12 grain elevators located in northwestern Iowa and western Tennessee to the Andersons Inc. The sale involves approximately 32.6 million bushels, or 83 percent, of its agribusiness storage capacity and all of its agronomy and retail petroleum operations. The estimated sales price for the facilities and certain related working capital is $133.1 million, including the assumption at closing of term debt of approximately $28.3 million.

9. RC Fuels has announced the addition of Rex Roehl as its business development director. In his new position, Roehl will further develop the company’s growing portfolio of national and regional accounts for its Rich Yeast product portfolio. Prior to joining RC Fuels, Roehl served in business development and asset management roles at Indeck Energy Services. He has also served on the boards of several ethanol plants for Indeck, including Big River Resources and Highwater Ethanol. RC Fuels’ Rich Yeast is a proprietary product designed as a drop-in replacement for conventional yeast for fermentation that reduces the need for preprocess enzymes, reducing production costs for a typical plant.

10. The U.S. Grains Council has announced the official approval of the Syngenta corn variety MIR 162 Agrisure Vipterra in the EU, opening the door for exports of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles. The decision came after years of industry leadership and efforts, especially those partners of the USGC in the EU, including COCERAL, FEFAC and the Irish Feed Millers Association.