(Photo: As chairman of Banco Nación, Javier Gonzalez Fraga (on the right) lent Vicentin around USD 400 million. Here, with CEO Sergio Nardelli, second from left to right)

Buenos Aires, December 5, 2019. “The best team of the last 50 years”, as the outgoing president Mauricio Macri said in reference to his cabinet, will end the mandate with new collateral damage. One of the largest domestic agribusiness companies, Vicentin, is close to going into default. Today, the agribusiness establishment was shocked by the announcement that the company has “financial stress” and some payments will be delayed.

Vicentin is one of the largest oilseed exporters, accounting for around 10% of the exports of soybean byproducts. According to the official data, during 2018 Vicentin exported 4.4 MMT of soybean meal, 0.9 MMT of soybean oil, 581K tons of wheat, 150K tons of sunflower oil and 65K tons of soybean.

But the company showed a huge exposition with the financial sector. The Central Bank informed that the debt of the company in October climbed to AR$ 23.340 million (or around USD 400 million), but 79% of that debt was taken from the official bank, Banco de la Nación Argentina. “It is clear that Macri government supported the Vicentin weak financial situation, based on political ties, via the national bank”, a source of eFarmNewsAr.com told us this morning. In fact, another 7% was taken from the Bank of the Buenos Aires Province, another official bank in a province ruled by the official coalition Cambiemos.

Another crucial data. We are saying that farmers and exporters are selling in advance to prevent the impact of an increase in export taxes. During November, the main companies declared export sales by 15 MMT. Cargill, for example, headed the list with 3.39 MMT; ACA (a farm cooperative), another 2.11 MMT; LDC, 1.78 MMT; Cofco, 1.50 MMT. But Vicentin, which represents 10% of the soybean byproduct exports, only registered 331K tons or 2% of the total.

Farmers fear that this “financial stress” could be the beginning of a huge default. In fact, there are some versions saying that a large company has delivered one million metric tons of grains to Vicentin, and is now at high risk of not being paid.