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Single South African lysine plant sold to Rosenberg

SA Bioproducts, which operates the only amino acid plant in Africa, has been bought by businessman Terry Rosenberg for an undisclosed sum.

SA Bioproducts'

 plant is a former AECI and Industrial Development Corporation joint venture to manufacture lysine, used to add to animal feed. AECI built the plant at the Umbogintwini site south of Durban in 1995. Its assets are worth more than R400m (US$ 56.5m).

AECI exited its non-core assets, of which the plant was one, in the late 1990s and the plant changed its name to SA Bioproducts in 2001, when management acquired control. SA Bioproducts is the only meaningful second- generation biotechnology business in SA.

Rosenberg was formerly CEO and vice-chairman of McCarthy Retail. He is a non-executive director of Canada-listed SRX Uranium One. Rosenberg said he bought SA Bioproducts because it was operated by good management. He owns 73%, while balance is held by management.

Lysine demand on increase
According to Rosenberg the plant had a lifespan of at least 30 years. The global market for lysine is growing 6%-8% in real terms annually and up to 60% of production is exported. The company is also in a favourable position in the commodity cycle with regard to the prices of lysine and sugar, the primary feedstock.

Rosenberg noted that there were eight major lysine producers in the world. "The commodity desks of large institutions have shown interest in merger and acquisition activity as well as in a future listing," he said.

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