People, Places, and...

Darling International to Acquire Vion Ingredients

On the heels of buying Canadian renderer Rothsay, Darling International, Inc. is once again acquiring another major international rendering company, this time it’s Vion Ingredients in the Netherlands for around $1.6 billion euros ($2.1 billion USD). Closing is anticipated in January 2014 subject to customary regulatory approvals and finalization of the required employee consultations in the Netherlands.

Vion Ingredients, a division of Vion Holding N.V. (a member of the Vion Food Group), is a worldwide leader in the development and production of specialty ingredients from animal origin for applications in pharmaceuticals, food, feed, pet food, fertilizer, and bioenergy. Its global network of 58 facilities on five continents covers all aspects of animal by-product processing through six brands, including Rendac, Sonac, Ecoson (green power), Rousselot, CTH, and Best Hides.

Vion Ingredients was formed in 1930 and is headquartered in Son en Breugel, the Netherlands. The company employs about 5,700 people with revenues of approximately $1.6 billion euros and $200 million euros ($267 million USD) in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for fiscal year 2012.

Vion Ingredients’ rendering business has leading positions across Europe with operations in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, and Italy under the Rendac and Sonac brand names. Value-added products include edible fats, blood products and plasma meals, bone products, protein meals, and fats. Rousselot is the leading market provider of gelatin for the food, pharmaceuticals, and pet food industries with operations in the United States, Europe, South America, and China. CTH is a market leader in natural casings for the sausage business with operations in the United States, Europe, and China.

“Our vision of creating a sustainable ingredients business for a growing population is well on its way,” said Randall C. Stuewe, Darling International’s chairman and chief executive officer.

“The combination of Vion Ingredients with Darling International will create the global leader in converting edible and inedible bio-nutrients streams into specialty products and ingredients for the food, feed, fuel, fertilizer, and pharmaceutical industries,” he continued. “We are truly excited to have the opportunity to join forces with the Vion Ingredients management team and bring this transformational platform to our suppliers, customers, and employees. 

“Furthermore, this transaction will further diversify Darling International’s revenue and EBITDA profile both geographically and from a product line point of view,” Stuewe stated.

Vion Ingredients, its brands, and geographies will continue to be led by chief executive officer Dirk Kloosterboer. In addition to his current responsibilities, upon closing, Kloosterboer will be named chief operating officer of Darling International and be appointed to the board of directors.

“We are very excited to become part of the Darling International group and its heritage,” commented Kloosterboer. “Under its new ownership, we will be able to execute our growth ambitions and provide our employees, customers, and suppliers with a unique global platform, driving further product innovation and penetration of new markets.”

FFA Membership Explodes

With analysts forecasting the world’s population to reach nine billion people by 2050, the agriculture industry needs educated, skilled, and passionate people dedicated to sustainability. Students are answering that call as evidenced by an explosion in the National FFA Organization (formerly Future Farmers of America) membership throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands in the past year.

Membership in FFA today stands at 579,678 students in grades seven through 12. More than 22,300 new students joined FFA during the 2012-2013 school year. The number of new, local FFA chapters throughout the country has grown to 7,570.

“FFA is preparing our youth to ensure the security of our country’s food, fiber, and natural resources for years to come,” said National FFA Organization Chief Executive Officer Dr. Dwight Armstrong. “Through real-world experiences, the nation’s agriculture teachers are helping students develop the technical knowledge, skills, and problem-solving capabilities to be the industry’s leaders of tomorrow. FFA members will be tomorrow’s advocates for agriculture.”

The Texas FFA Association added more students and new chapters than any other state. With 8,533 new members, total FFA membership in the Lone Star state stands at 95,015 in 1,010 chapters. California, with 74,039 members, is the country’s second-largest FFA association, followed by Georgia with 35,398 members, Missouri with 25,073 members, and Oklahoma with 24,896 members.

Founded in 1928, the National FFA Organization’s mission is to develop a student’s potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. Students belong to FFA chapters organized at the local high- or middle-school level with agriculture teachers serving as advisors.

Biodiesel Industry Elects New Officers

National Biodiesel Board (NBB) members elected new association leaders in mid-November at the organization’s membership meeting in Washington, DC. Members also voted to fill eight positions on the 15-person board.

Officers elected to lead the board are Steven J. Levy, Sprague Operating Resources, LLC, chairman; Ron Marr, Minnesota Soybean Processors, vice chairman; Mike Cunningham, American Soybean Association, treasurer; and Greg Anderson, Nebraska Soybean Board, secretary.

“The biodiesel industry is on pace for record production in 2013 but the challenges facing this industry are significant,” said Levy. “I am optimistic about our future as we face those challenges with a strong and diverse trade association membership united for the good of the industry, consumers, and the general public.”

Dozens of biodiesel stakeholders from across the country met with leaders on Capitol Hill concerning the Renewable Fuel Standard and to voice strong disappointment with President Barack Obama’s administration’s recent proposal for next year’s renewable fuels volumes (see “Biofuels Bulletin” on page 24 of this issue of Render).

Newly elected NBB governing board members include Marr, Todd Ellis, Imperium Renewables; Kent Engelbrecht, ADM; Gary Haer, Renewable Energy Group; Ed Hegland, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council; Bob Metz, South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Coucil; Robert Stobaugh, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board; and Ed Ulch, Iowa Soybean Association.

The following members also serve on the governing board: Jennifer Case, New Leaf Biofuel, LLC; Brandon Foley, Sanimax Energy; Timothy Keaveney, HERO BX; and John Wright, Owensboro Grain Company.

Rendering Symposium Featured at IPPE

After a successful turnout this past January, the National Renderers Association (NRA) is once again organizing its International Rendering Symposium to be held January 30-31, 2014, immediately following the International Production and Processing Exposition (IPPE) in Atlanta, GA. This year’s title is The Rendering Industry: Using Rendered Products for Safe, High Quality Feed and is once again a cooperative effort with IPPE, which starts on Tuesday, January 28, and ends Thursday, January 30, 2014. The NRA seminar will start at noon on Thursday and end Friday at noon.

The speaker line-up this year covers important topics to consumers such as controlling Salmonella in feed, quality assurance in manufacturing rendered products, and the nuts and bolts of the rendering industry. There will also be talks by industry leaders on rendered products for feeding aquaculture, pets, swine, and poultry.

For more information on IPPE or to register, visit

H.J. Baker Opens Sales Office in Mexico, Names Global Director

Global agriculture firm H.J. Baker & Bro., Inc. has established a sales office in Guadalajara, Mexico, to meet the growing demand throughout Latin America. The office will facilitate sales of nutritional supplements for the dairy, poultry, and aquaculture industries as well as sulphur bentonite fertilizer for the entire region.

Javier Rodriguez, who has been with the company for more than 10 years, will be country manager for H. J. Baker & Bro. de Mexico S de R.L. de C.V. in Guadalajara and oversee sales efforts throughout the region. An accomplished international sales representative with 26 years of experience trading commodities in Mexico, Rodriguez began his career at Sumitomo Corporation in Mexico City, Mexico, subsequently developing markets for the use of feed ingredients in the country. He joined H.J. Baker in 2002 where he has developed markets for the company’s feed ingredients in Mexico. In addition, he has established a presence for H.J. Baker in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America.

In other news, Nicole Bartlett has been promoted to the newly established position of director, Global Marketing at H.J. Baker. In this new role, Bartlett will design, implement, and direct corporate and divisional marketing objectives on a global basis. She will also be responsible for identifying new target markets, product opportunities, and expanding market share in existing markets. Bartlett joined H.J. Baker in 2012 as director of Feed Product and Market Development. She was previously with Alltech, Inc.

December 2013 RENDER | back