USA- Benson Hill, a food technology company, is seeking partnerships to bolster its position in the animal feed market after entering a partnership with ADM to scale the production of high-protein soy ingredients for the North American market in August 2022.

The next step in our evolution will include more robust partnership models to leverage the full power of our platform, pipeline, capabilities, and intellectual property in existing markets as well as new large market adjacencies,” said Adrienne Elsner, interim chief executive officer, in an Aug. 9 earnings call.

Elsner added that Benson Hill’s two areas of particular interest are the large-acre livestock feed and international markets. 

The feed efficiency and sustainability benefit of high protein, low anti-nutrient soybeans can potentially transform segments of the livestock feed industry,” Elsner added. 

The animal feed market has lower margins but higher volume opportunities than the human food market, she said, adding Benson Hill soybeans are easier to digest than traditional soybeans.

That means our soy could replace some of the higher cost ingredients in animal food, and so as we talk to potential customers, what they’re indicating to us is if we could design that kind of an innovation stream, then they would be incredibly interested in pursuing that with us.”

According to Elsner, the company’s portfolio and pipeline attributes offer unique advantages for diverse international markets in Europe, Latin America, India, Asia, and Africa. 

“We believe partnerships that penetrate these and other markets at scale can bring unique advantages to every vertical of the agri-food value chain,” Ms. Elsner said. 

Referring to the ADM partnership, Ms. Elsner said ADM has begun to process some of Benson Hill’s 2022 crop.

It’s utilizing their capacity and their network to leverage what we bring to the table; which is advantaged high protein crop,” she said. “Our ’23 crop dedicated to the partnership looks good so far.

Benson Hill narrows Q2 losses

As Benson Hill is seeking new partners, the company had a net loss of US$57 million in the quarter, compared with a loss of US$28 million in the previous year’s second quarter. Revenues increased 17% to US$109 million from US$94 million.

Half-year losses were however higher atUS$60 million compared with a loss of US$44 million in the same time of the previous year. Six-month revenues increased 53% to US$244 million from US$160 million.

Benson Hill plans to reduce operating expenses by US$10 million annually in 2024 and is assessing options for its soybean crush assets in Seymour, Ind., according  to Chief Finance Officer Dean P. Freeman.

Our working capital improvement efforts will largely come from the outcome of the options we are exploring with Seymour,” he said.

Benson Hill names chief transformation officer

Meanwhile, Kimberly Hurst has been promoted to chief transformation officer at Benson Hill, Inc, a newly created role.

She will lead cross-functional projects to drive efficiencies in the business, direct companywide resourcing, and develop operational strategies for achieving the company’s financial objectives.

Hurst joined Benson Hill in November 2020 as senior director of financial planning and analysis, moving on to senior director of M&A in July 2021 and vice president of corporate development in January 2022. 

Kim’s strategic insight and business development success within Benson Hill made her a clear choice for this important position,” said Deanie Elsner, interim chief executive officer.

Kim’s deep financial acumen and extensive experience across the agri-food value chain will serve us well in this role.

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