“We plan to invest US$ 582 million of Atvos’ own cash resources over the next three years…”
Bruno Serapião is the CEO of Atvos, a mechanical engineer graduated from the Technological Institute of Aeronautics – ITA.
Atvos is the second-largest ethanol producer in Brazil and one of the main issuers of Decarbonization Credits in the country.
AgriBrasilis – What is going on with Atvos’ US$ 1.2 billion debt?
Bruno Serapião – We recently announced an important change in our capital structure, with the transfer of US$ 1.2 billion in debt securities to Soneva Energias Renováveis S.A., a financial vehicle of FIP Agroenergia, the company’s current controller.
Today, Soneva holds 90% of the company’s controlling interest and our gross debt was reduced by 50%, with the maturity date of current obligations extended until 2043, in addition to a reduced interest rate and the possibility of starting the first payments in three years. This was a fundamental step towards the arrival of Mubadala Capital, a global asset management company, which had already announced its intention to invest US$ 97 million in the company. Now, we have a debt profile suited to the current reality of our operations and robust financial health.
We plan to invest US$ 582 million of Atvos’ own cash resources over the next three years, with US$ 310 million still in the current 2023/24 harvest, in our agro-industrial units, located in the States of São Paulo, Goiás, Mato Grosso, and Mato Grosso do Sul. We also want to inject part of this amount into new businesses, innovation, the development of our people, communities, and the entire production chain.
AgriBrasilis – The company intends to digitalize work in sugarcane fields. What does that mean?
Bruno Serapião – We have been going through an intense transformation process in all areas since the arrival of FIP Agroenergia. With this, we have sought to operate in new technology markets and innovation hubs to bring innovative solutions. We are so committed to this aspect that, in August, we launched our first open innovation program, Inov@tvos. Aimed at startups and companies across the country, the program will receive part of the investment of US$ 582 million planned for the next three years to increasingly promote innovation and entrepreneurship in agribusiness, especially in mitigating risks and costs, and increasing operational efficiency.
We look for new solutions to optimize transportation from the sugarcane field to processing, digitalizing the work in the crop, as well as to trace routes with greater precision. We also want to implement efficient alternatives to digitally activate support services, something like a kind of “Uber”, in which professionals are called according to necessity.
AgriBrasilis – What processes does this digitization involve? What are the main difficulties?
Bruno Serapião – Our intention is to advance technologically in our different areas of activity, from the field, through transport and activities within the production units. Difficulties are inherent to production processes. There is a path to reach the technological state of the art and we are convinced that it is fully possible to achieve our goals of digitalization in operations.
AgriBrasilis – How does the company use its byproducts, such as filter cake and vinasse?
Bruno Serapião – We seek to mitigate our environmental impacts through the circular economy, with the development of sustainable technological solutions for the planting, cultivation and harvesting of sugar cane. The by-products originating from the milling itself, such as vinasse and filter cake, which are co-generated during our production processes, have important levels of organic matter and minerals, which gain new functions when used as biofertilizers for fertilizing more than 480 thousand hectares of Atvos sugarcane fields in the country.
This has helped us maintain resources for as long as possible within the production chain, allowing greater control over the company’s environmental impact. The use of these resources has seen an important expansion in recent harvests, as they are highly important for sugarcane nutrition and soil fertilization. In the 2022/23 cycle, for example, filter cake, composed of organic matter and minerals such as phosphorus, nitrogen and calcium, was used in 17 thousand hectares of sugarcane fields, an increase of 41% compared to recent years.
Vinasse, rich in potassium and organic matter, was applied to 91 thousand hectares of crops in 2022/23, an increase of 20% compared to the 2021/22 harvest. In this case, specifically, it is important to highlight that, through the Vinasse Application Plan, Atvos’ agro-industrial units carry out a soil analysis in all areas where the by-product will be applied and, based on these results, it is possible to verify whether that location is compatible to receive or not fertigation with the product.
AgriBrasilis – Atvos is one of the main issuers of Decarbonization Credits in the country. What are CBIOs and what is their importance?
Bruno Serapião – The Decarbonization Credit or Carbon Credit was created by the government program RenovaBio, launched more than five years ago by the Ministry of Mines and Energy. This credit is nothing more than a title issued by licensed companies and producers of biofuels that, through their operations, contribute to the global climate agenda. This is because the use of products such as ethanol has a lower carbon footprint and avoids greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
With each CBIO emitted, a tonne of carbon is no longer released into the atmosphere. CBIOs are traded on the stock exchange, providing an incentive for the production of biofuels in Brazil. Furthermore, they can be used to carry out actions in favor of the environment, such as the initiatives that Atvos has carried out in partnership with other companies, such as Mitsubishi Motors, to neutralize carbon emissions.
Currently, Atvos has the capacity to issue more than 2 million decarbonization credits per harvest, being one of the main national issuers of CBIOs in the sugar-energy sector and one of the most relevant players in the generation of clean and renewable energy in Brazil. The company renewed the RenovaBio certification of all its agro-industrial units until 2025.