The creation of two major divisions demonstrated the group's desire to create a genuine plant/animal connection making it possible to transform all products in the oilseed sector.
Glon Sanders groups together the activities of the animal products division. Consisting of some 50 subsidiaries established all over France, it develops two major specialities – animal feed and health – and the processing of livestock products for human nutrition.
Created in 1984, Soprol is a holding company encompassing the oil transformation division subsidiaries Saipol (crushing and refining), Expur, Lesieur, Lesieur Générale Condimentaire, Diester Industrie, Diester Industrie International, Oleon and Novance.
Acquisition of 65% of the Glon Sanders Group. By becoming a majority stakeholder, Sofiprotéol secured one of the main outlets for French oilseeds.
Creation of two major business divisions, "Oilseed transformation" and "Animal product transformation". This simplified organisation made the group's strategy clearer.
The group now had a workforce of 3,600.
The Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and Crédit Agricole acquired an interest in Soprol. These operations boosted Soprol's financial means and furthered its long-term development within and outside France.
Acquisition of a 30% stake in Cristal Tunisia, which managed the Lesieur brand in this country.
Launch of Agro-Invest. The purpose of this investment fund was to create closer links between growing SMEs and the food sector and help them to get through "difficult" phases.
The CNIEL (French dairy industry interprofessional organisation), grouping together the sector's main federations in France, created the FEDIL (interprofessional dairy industry development fund), handing over its management to Sofiprotéol.
Takeover of Générale Condimentaire, which had been producing Lesieur dressings and mayonnaises based on rapeseed and sunflower oil since 1994 in Grande-Synthe (in the Nord département).
Diester Industrie launched the Diesterlub biolubricant range.
Strategic alliance with Hendrix Genetics, one of the European leaders in animal genetics, in which Sofiprotéol acquired a 12% interest. The two partners launched a number of joint research programmes.
Acquisition of the Belgian company Oleon, one of the European leaders in oleochemistry.
With the takeover of Oleon, Sofiprotéol created a large division called Oleon-Novance, the European leader in its sphere. This gave the group a presence in oleochemistry and strengthened its international standing.
The new unit produced a large range of renewable, biodegradable, non-toxic products and formulas based on vegetable oils and animal fat for use in the food industry, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, cleaning products, paints and detergents.
Sogeval, a subsidiary of Glon Sanders specialising in animal health, bought Vitality, a Florida-based company in the USA specialising in veterinary products for pets.
Launch of the BioTfuel project for the production of second-generation biodiesels
Bunge sold Soprol the 33.3% stake it had held in Saipol since the takeover of Lesieur in 2003. Soprol now entirely controlled Saipol, which itself entirely controlled Lesieur.
Conquering the Romanian market
By buying out first Expur, then Untdelem and Olpo, the group gained a firm foothold in the oilseed production basin of Eastern Europe and the Black Sea, one of the largest in Europe.
In 2011, Sofiprotéol launched its first corporation communication campaign. Named "Flower Power" after the Seventies movement of the same name, the campaign put the spotlight on rapeseed and sunflower blooms and was designed to raise opinion leaders' awareness of the challenges involved in the group's activities, in terms of taste, energy, health, innovation, technology and employment.
Lesieur acquired Lesieur Cristal, Morocco's leader in not only edible olive oil and seeds, but also soap. The operation boosted the group's role in the structuring of Maghreb's markets, and opened up new outlets for French rapeseed and sunflower producers.
Second generation biofuels and the BioTfuel project
Second generation biofuels are produced from the non-edible parts of plants: straw, wood and vegetable waste. In contrast to first generation biofuels extracted from crops (beetroot, rapeseed, etc.) they do not compete with the use of raw materials for food. They are directly usable by conventional vehicles and reduce CO2 emissions considerably. Launched in 2009 by Sofiprotéol with support from ADEME (agency for the environment and energy control), the aim of the BioTfueL project was to produce biodiesel and biokerosene by transforming the woody part of plants and forest waste. A pilot unit was set up for this purpose at Sofiprotéol's Venette site (Compiègne).
Start-up of the P.I.V.E.R.T. project, dedicated to transforming biomass (whole plants) into renewable chemical products. Sofiprotéol participated in this alongside several manufacturers and research organisations.
Representatives of the sector expressed powerful expectations in terms of sustainable and societal development. How does our activity create jobs in France? How does it contribute to the development of farming subsidiaries abroad? These problems were what lay behind our creation of Cap 2018.
Jean-Philippe Puig, CEO of Sofiprotéol since 2012
Acquisition in Romania of the Untdelemn de la Bunica Olpo edible oil brands, previously run by the American group Cargill.
Agreement signed with the Moroccan government. Sofiprotéol supported the increase of areas devoted to rapeseed and sunflower crops, notably through supply contracts with the Lesieur Cristal factory.
Stakes increased in the Matines Company, specialising in retail eggs for supermarkets.
Acquisition of all shares in Glon Sanders.
Presentation of the strategic plan Cap2018. Carried out in close consultation with professionals in the sector, this laid down avenues for growth in the 2012-2018 period, putting the spotlight on sustainable development and social responsibility.
Passing on the torch
In 2012, Jean-Philippe Puig succeeded Philippe Tillous-Borde, who had been CEO of Sofiprotéol since 1983. Previously in the aluminium industry, this engineer familiar with major European companies had the task of adapting Sofiprotéol's management and strategy to its new size, working alongside Xavier Beulin, Sofiprotéol's Chairman since 2000.