REHOVOT, ISRAEL and PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL--(Marketwire - December 12, 2011) -
Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN) and SLC Agricola (BOVESPA: SLCE3) (PINKSHEETS: SLCJY
) (BLOOMBERG: SLCE3:BZ) (REUTERS: SLCE3.SA), a leading agribusiness company in Brazil, today announced expansion of their agreement for the development of castor bean seeds as a cost competitive feedstock for biofuels. This expansion follows successful completion of field trials for such varieties in northeast Brazil during 2011.
The collaboration between Evogene and SLC Agricola, initiated in 2010, is focused on developing advanced castor seed displaying high oil yield under rain-fed conditions and suitable for sustainable and commercial production in Brazil. In recently completed field trials, proprietary castor varieties developed by Evogene demonstrated improved yield potential and performance compared to existing cultivars. Under the expanded agreement, the companies will continue to collaborate on evaluating Evogene's castor varieties in SLC's farm locations in northeast Brazil to determine the best performing varieties and agronomic practices suitable for commercial scale production.
"We are excited with the results achieved and look forward to continuing our joint efforts with SLC Agricola, one of the leading soybean and cotton producers in Brazil. Combining Evogene's world leading capabilities for crop improvement with SLC's agricultural production systems is expected to strongly position our castor varieties as a sustainable and economically viable feedstock solution for the growing biodiesel and biojet markets," stated Assaf Oron, EVP Strategy & Business Development at Evogene. "And, with Brazil's leadership and long term commitment to biofuel as well as its well established agriculture industry, there is a substantial opportunity for large scale commercial production of castor in Brazil."
"We are developing a new alternative crop to plant as a second crop after the soybean harvest. Also, it can be another source of oil to maximize the production of biodiesel at the cotton seed oil industry," stated Aurélio Pavinato, Chief Operator Officer of SLC Agrícola S.A."
Evogene's castor varieties are targeted at being highly competitive with currently available feedstock for biodiesel, enabling oil production at a cost equivalent to approximately $50 per barrel, compared to much higher costs based on production from existing food crops, such as soybean and canola oils. Furthermore, biodiesel produced from the Evogene's castor varieties is expected to substantially reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions -- by over 75% compared with conventional diesel, as demonstrated by a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) conducted.
Evogene is a world leading developer of improved plant traits, such as yield and drought tolerance, for a wide diversity of key crops through the use of plant genomics. The company focuses on utilizing its proprietary computational genomic technologies to provide a complete solution for plant trait improvement through combining state of the art biotechnology and advanced breeding methods. Evogene is collaborating with world leading seed companies to introduce its improved plant traits into key commercial crops under milestone and royalty bearing agreements. Evogene's headquarters are in Rehovot, Israel, and its stock is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE: EVGN). For additional information, please visit Evogene's website at www.evogene.com.
About SLC Agricola
SLC Agricola SA. is one of the largest land owners and agricultural producers in Brazil, being also the first in its sector (grains and cotton) to list its shares in a stock exchange. It focuses of the production of cotton, soybean and corn, and also on the acquisition and development of farmland in the country for future sale. The Company currently operates 13 production units, in six different states, totaling 250 thousand hectares of planted area at the 2011/12 crop year. The Company's business model is based on a large-scale, modern production system, with standardized production units, thoroughly up-to-date technology and rigorous cost controls, underpinned by social and environmental responsibility.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" relating to future events. These statements may be identified by words such as "may," "expects," "intends," "anticipates," "plans," "believes," "scheduled," "estimates" or words of similar meaning. Such statements are based on current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions, describe opinions about future events, involve certain risks and uncertainties which are difficult to predict and are not guarantees of future performance. Therefore, actual future results, performance or achievements of Evogene may differ materially from what is expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, many of which beyond Evogene's control, including, without limitation, those risk factors contained in Evogene's reports filed with the Israeli Securities Authority. Evogene disclaims any obligation or commitment to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or developments or changes in expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions.