Europe's largest full-range soy protein plant to be built in Finland

Investments in companies - 22.11.2011

–Finnprotein Oy, an early-stage soy processing company backed by Renaissance Partners, has secured EUR100mn of financing for the construction of a multi-stage soy processing plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland – the largest facility of its type in Europe.

A high-powered Finnish investment consortium is participating in the financing, including Finnish Industry Investment, Pontos Group and Finnish pension funds, Varma and Etera, with Nordea and Pohjola mandated as lead arrangers. Finnvera is also participating in the transaction, with a significant stake.

To date, the project has been supported by Renaissance Partners, the proprietary investment arm of Renaissance Group; and the town of Uusikaupunki, whose Mayor, Kari Koski, expects Finnprotein’s activities to give a significant boost to the town’s economy.

Finnprotein extracts protein and oil from soybeans for the animal feed, human food and biodiesel industries in Finland and abroad. The plant will apply advanced multi-stage extraction technology, and process up to 400,000 tons of soybeans annually. At full capacity, it will generate net annual sales of more than EUR200mn and create employment for hundreds of people in Uusikaupunki and the broader Vakka-Suomi region.

Soy protein is a strategic resource that is largely imported into Europe as a finished product. Establishing a processing facility in Finland will position Finnprotein not only for the domestic animal feed industry, but also to become a global player in specialty food applications for soy protein, and a trusted supplier of soy protein to Scandinavia’s fish farming (aquaculture) industry. As a result of the depletion of wild fish stocks through overfishing, the aquaculture industry has seen a decade of strong growth in Scandinavian waters – a trend that is set to continue as environmentally sustainable fish forms an increasing part of diets.

“"Today is a significant milestone for Finnprotein",” says Mikko Nordberg, Managing Director of Finnprotein Oy. “"Closing this financing round means that a Finnish company with Finnish management now has the support of a consortium of blue-chip Finnish equity investors.”"

Kai Becker of Pontos Group adds, “The market opportunity that Finnprotein capitalises on is tremendous. Soy protein is a valuable proteinaceous ingredient, sought-after by food and feed producers who can no longer rely on unsustainable, and increasingly expensive animal proteins.”

"“We believe the macro trends we are seeing in protein demand are set to continue for some time to come",” says Heikki Vesterinen of Finnish Industry Investment. “Creating a state-of-the-art facility at a Finnish port to benefit from these macro trends is a fantastic idea. The local management team and strong Finnish stakeholder base make us confident of Finnprotein’s success in the years to come. We look forward to seeing significant job creation and a profitable sustainable business.”

"We are delighted to have brought this leading technology project to Finland. Renaissance Partners seeks constructive partnerships in all its investments around the world, and this closing typifies the marriage of entrepreneurial international capital with the strongest domestic institutions," adds Chris Baxter, CEO of Renaissance Partners.

The project will have a strong positive impact on the region’s economy. On completion, the plant, it is estimated, will employ 150 people directly and 250 indirectly. Furthermore, the throughput volume of Uusikaupunki port is set to triple as a result of Finnprotein’s operations. The location for the plant was chosen primarily for its proximity to key markets, the availability of skilled labour and reliable infrastructure.  

"“We are pleased that Finland qualified as the most attractive destination to implement this investment",” says Atso Vainio, Vice President, Partner Network, at Invest in Finland, which promotes foreign direct investment into Finland and brought the international and Finnish parties together. “"Right from the start, there will be a positive impact at the national level, in terms of substantial economic and employment benefits, new technology and knowhow.”"

The plant will be constructed by SRV.

For further information, please contact:


Mikko Nordberg
, Managing Director, Finnprotein
tel: +358 440 321 003, e-mail: mikko.nordberg@finnprotein.fi

Rob Reid, Head of Proprietary Investments, Renaissance Partners
Tel: +7 (495) 258-7777 x4839, e-mail: pr@rencap.com

Risto Autio
, Director, Private Equity, Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company
tel: +358 10 244 3230, email: risto.autio@varma.fi

Elina Tourunen
, Head of Private Equity and Debt, Etera Mutual Pension Insurance Company, Tel: +358 44 5343047, e-mail: elina.tourunen@etera.fi

Kai Becker
, CEO, Pontos Group
Tel. +358 50 307 3734, e-mail: kai.becker@pontos.fi

Heikki Vesterinen, Investment Director, Finnish Industry Investment Ltd
Tel: +358 40 508 8558, e-mail: heikki.vesterinen@industryinvestment.com

Atso Vainio
, Vice President, Partner Network, Invest in Finland
Tel: +358  773 0306, e-mail: atso.vainio@investinfinland.fi 


Finnprotein is an early stage soy processing plant established in Uusikaupunki, Finland to extract protein from soybeans for the food and feed producing industries. www.finnprotein.fi

Renaissance Partners is the principal investment arm of Renaissance Group managing an investment portfolio of more than $750mn in the CIS and Africa. Renaissance Partners is a leading African urban land developer and one of the largest controllers of agricultural land in Ukraine, with more than 235,000 ha. Finnprotein is Renaissance Partners’ first investment in Finland. www.rengroup.com

Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company is the largest earnings-related pension insurer and investor in Finland. The company is responsible for the statutory earnings-related pension cover of nearly 860,000 people. Premiums written totalled EUR 3.7 billion in 2010 and pension payments stood at EUR 4.0 billion. The company’s investment portfolio amounted to EUR 31.2 billion at the end of September 2011. www.varma.fi

Etera Mutual Pension Insurance Company provides insurance for all employees and self-employed persons. Etera provides pension cover for employees and self-employed persons and promotes well-being at work. The number of people insured with Etera is 212,000, and Etera paid out a total of EUR million to 152,000 pension recipients in 2010. Etera has EUR 5.2 billion invested to secure pension funds. Read more at www.etera.fi

Pontos is a family owned private equity and real estate investment company operating in Finland, the Baltic States and Russia. www.pontos.fi

Finnish Industry Investment Ltd is a government-owned investment company that promotes Finnish business, employment and economic growth through venture capital and private equity investments. The investments of Finnish Industry Investment amount to 660 million euros. www.industryinvestment.com

Invest in Finland is an expert service organisation that attracts international companies to Finland. It is a unit funded by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, with the objective of strengthening knowledge clusters and increasing employment and the internationalisation of Finnish companies. www.investinfinland.fi