NEW YORK -- Carlyle/Riverstone Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund I, L.P. and Bunge North America will build ethanol plants jointly, resulting in ultimate production capacity of several hundred million-gallons-per-year by the end of 2008.

The plants will be adjacent to grain facilities controlled by Bunge in the U.S. CRREIF will be the majority owner of the facilities, with Bunge retaining a minority interest in each plant. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Biofuels are fast becoming an important segment of the domestic energy supply complex, and we are excited to partner our capital and energy expertise with an integrated agribusiness of Bunge's size and capabilities to quickly grow an ethanol enterprise with critical mass," said Michael Hoffman, managing director of Riverstone.

In addition to its minority ownership, Bunge will provide project development and asset management services. Bunge will supply corn and energy inputs for the plants, market and distribute the plants' outputs, including ethanol and distillers grains, and provide logistics and risk management services.

"By leveraging the strengths of Bunge and Riverstone, we will add value to our existing operations while effectively participating in the growing biofuels industry," said Carl Hausmann, president and CEO, Bunge North America.

Pennsylvania-based New Hope Partners LLC is assisting CRREIF and Bunge in the development of the project.

Riverstone Holdings LLC and The Carlyle Group are the co-general partners of Carlyle/Riverstone Global Energy and Power Funds. Riverstone, a New York-based energy and power focused private equity firm founded in 2000, conducts buyout and growth capital investments in the midstream, upstream, power, oilfield service, and renewable sectors of the energy industry.

The Carlyle Group is a global private equity firm with $44.3 billion under management. Carlyle invests in buyouts, venture capital, real estate and leveraged finance in North America, Europe and Asia. Since 1987, the firm has invested $22.4 billion of equity in 528 transactions.

Bunge North America, the North American operating arm of Bunge Limited, is a vertically integrated food and feed ingredient company supplying raw and processed agricultural commodities and specialized food ingredients to a wide range of customers in the livestock, poultry, food processor, foodservice, and bakery industries. Headquartered in St. Louis, Bunge North America operates grain elevators, oilseed processing facilities, edible oil refineries, packaging plants, and corn dry mills in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Bunge Limited is an integrated, global agribusiness and food company operating in the farm-to-consumer food chain. Founded in 1818 and headquartered in White Plains, New York, Bunge is the world's leading oilseed processing company, the largest producer and supplier of fertilizers to farmers in South America and the world's leading seller of bottled vegetable oils to consumers.

SOURCE: Bunge North America via PR Newswire.