Power and Renewables Brazil: Sweet dreams

Jun 28, 2013

Brighter forecasts and new measures from Brazil’s government should help sugar and bioenergy producers, which have been pinched in recent years

By Ben Miller

Lower prices have taken a toll in recent years on sugar producers in Brazil, which accounts for 40% of the world’s production. But things may be looking up as companies diversify and the government considers fresh support measures.

It’s an industry where scale matters. But while it’s been largely a game for the biggest players, smaller companies have also managed to stay their ground.

An industry that not many years ago was still largely family-owned has seen the arrival of international names like Shell, Louis Dreyfus, Cargill, and Noble to both the sugar and biofuel sides of the business. Indigenous Cosan has built itself up to dominate the market. Big producers crush 50 million tons a year, though for many single-mill operators, that sum is less than 10 million.

In the past two years, however, a group of medium-sized producers has also found its...

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