The Balbo family started its activities in the sugar industry in 1903, when patriarch Attílio Balbo started working at Engenho Central, in the city of Sertãozinho, interior of the state of São Paulo. During the following 43 years, Mr. Attílio and his sons specialized in various activities involved in the sugar industry.
At the end of that period, more precisely in 1946, the family founded the Santo Antônio Sugarmill (USA). The calling, combined with experience and knowledge, led to the crushing of 16,000 tonnes of sugarcane and to the production of 1,664 tonnes of sugar (27,733 60-Kg bags) in the first harvest, in 1947.The family did not own a distillery or even its own land to plant sugarcane yet. Steps toward growth were constant from then on. Important milestones were the acquisitions of these plants: São Francisco Sugarmill (UFRA), in 1956; Santana Sugarmill, in 1962 (both in Sertãozinho), and the Perdigão Sugarmill, in 1965, in Ribeirão Preto. The latter two were merged into USA. The Uberaba plant, a partnership between the Balbo Group and other business groups, was opened in 2008.
Managed by men experienced in planting and processing sugarcane, the plants had a significant increase in their productive capacity, coming in today at 6.5 million tonnes of sugarcane, 300,000 tonnes of sugar, and 330 million liters of ethanol.
Together, the Group's three plants grow 37,800 hectares of areas, where they produce approximately 3.2 million tonnes of their own sugarcane. The remaining 3.3 million tonnes of sugarcane are acquired from over 300 self-employed traditional farmers in the regions where the plants are located. Among them are Sertãozinho, Ribeirão Preto, Jardinópolis, Dumont, Barrinha, Jaboticabal, and Uberaba.
The plants are self-sufficient in power, which they generate by burning sugarcane bagasse. Thermal, mechanical, and electrical power generation, done under a model of cogeneration, is the responsibility of Bioenergia, which also belongs to the Balbo Group, which not only meets the companies' needs, but also markets electricity surpluses.Besides USA, UFRA, the Uberaba Plant, and Bioenergia, the Group holds stakes in PHB Industrial S.A., which develops the technology used to produce biodegradable plastic resin from sugarcane.