From a supplier to a fuel producer

If you were the owner of two gas stations in the small town of Colorado (RS), which has 3.5 thousand inhabitants only, and did not have any connection with large industrial conglomerates, would it be worth investing in biodiesel production at a time when did not exist this kind of industries in Brazil? The great majority would say no. Erasmo Carlos Battistella, 34 years old, chief executive officer of BSBIOS, was against the obvious, he embrace the idea and became the head of a company which turnover was R$ 1 billion in 2011. He was the owner of Prize Jovens Lideranças in category Agro-business, which Sergino de Mendonça, director of group Vale do Verdão, and Fernando Galletti de Queiroz, chairman of Minerva slaughterhouse also competed for.

Battistella comes from a family of small farmers in the south region of Brazil. He rented his first gas station when he was 20 years old, in 1998, and did this for living until 2005. Between 2005 and 2011, therefore, he headed an advance which was worthy of great stories of venture: he was interested in biodiesel, became specialist in the area and has gone into partnership with the powerful Petrobras for the production of this fuel. Everything happened during less than seven years. "It is a meteoric trajectory, which is confident in the future in Brazil, yes, it is, but it depends on much work and dedication", he asserts. "Because, when the biodiesel program was launched, many companies did not believe in him, but I trusted in the project, I searched for large businessmen as partners and we became able to start the works", explains Battistella, who is also the president of the Association of Biodiesel Production of Brazil (Aprobio) and the Brazilian Association of Canola Producers (ABrasCanola).

Good moment of the sector

As for the expectations of the sector, Battistella will continue working very much the next years. To the patron jury of category Agro-business, ex-minister Pedro Parente, current chairman of Bunge Brazil, the growing need for energy production as well as the constant increase in the demand for food are promising factors for an even greater growth of the sector in Brazil. Parente rejected the critics which said that the country has to relinquish agro-business in favor of greater economy industrialization. "Sometimes people complain that Brazil is exporting more rural products and less industrial products.

The matter is not to export rural products, but not to export industrial products", he asserted. "The truth is that the world will need more food and energy and Brazil has conditions (to achieve such an important role)." BSBIOS, indeed, works hard in the search for leadership in global agro-business. Nowadays, the plant has capacity to produce more than 160 million liters of biodiesel per year. Besides, the company accumulated several regional venture and environmental prizes. Another great boom was the partnership with Petrobras last year. It is supposed to be said that the Brazilian Oil Industry has paid R$ 200 million for 50% of BSBIOS. More than that, it turned the company the largest producer of fuel in the country, and turned name Battistella a strong name of biodiesel.

Luis Yuaso