Our history

– Our history –

Creation to restructure the oilseed sector
Usine Saipol Grande-Couronne
Creation of Saipol
Creation of Saipol by Sofiprotéol (which became Avril in 2015) on 9 November 1983 to take over and structure the French oilseed processing industry, which was in difficulty at the time following the bankruptcy of the CNTA (Comptoir National Technique Agricole – National Syndicate of Agricultural Techniques). Saipol, with the support of Sofiprotéol, reorganised the original industrial park, and then continued to grow by investing in the factories maintained in the territory.
Diester carburant propre
Creation of Diester®
In Compiègne, the first pilot plant for the production of biodiesel from the transesterification of rapeseed oil is built. The Diester® brand is created for the biodiesel produced by the Group. Saipol produces Diester® and sales are made by Diester Industrie, a new company created in 1992. Diester Industrie and Saipol merge and keep the name Saipol in 2014.
Site industriel de Saipol à Grande-Courrone
Start-up of the Rouen plant
Start-up of a rapeseed crushing and vegetable oil refining unit in Grand-Couronne (76), near Rouen.
Biodiesel Diester produit dans l'usine Saipol à Grande Courrone
Start-up of the world’s first biodiesel production unit
Start-up of the world’s first industrial-scale biodiesel production unit (120,000 tonnes) at the Saipol site in Grand-Couronne.
Downstream development and growth
Conditionnement huiles végétales Lesieur
Development towards the packaging of vegetable oils
After becoming the leading producer of French refined oils, Sofiprotéol acquired Lesieur and consolidated an activity from seed to finished product. As of 2004, the Group has produced the Fleur de Colza oil: an oil rich in omega 3 produced by Saipol, packaged and marketed by Lesieur. 10 years later, in 2013, Lesieur was reintegrated into the holding company of the Sofiprotéol group and is now a subsidiary of the Avril Végétal division.

Learn more about Lesieur

Biodiesels et Huiles Neutres
Saipol responds to the French biofuel plan
From 2004 to 2008, Saipol responded to the French biofuel plan which, at the time, aimed at incorporating 7% biodiesel into diesel fuel distributed. A large investment plan resulted in an increase in oilseed crushing capacity and in building biodiesel production units in Grand-Couronne, Bassens, Sète, Montoir-de-Bretagne, Cappelle-la-Grande and Le Mériot.
Usine Saipol à Le meriot
A new Saipol plant in Meriot
Built between November 2005 and December 2007, since 2008 the Saipol plant in Mériot has been producing vegetable oils, rapeseed cake, Diester biodiesel and vegetable glycerine from rapeseed grown within a 150 km radius of the plant.

The plant was officially inaugurated on 5 February 2009 by Luc Chatel, Secretary of State for Industry and Consumer Affairs and Government Spokesman.

Usine Expur
Saipol acquires Expur
Saipol acquired Expur, a Romanian crusher established in the oilseed production basin of Eastern Europe and the Black Sea. Expur processes rapeseed and sunflower seeds for the production and packaging of vegetable oils for food, meal for animal feed, biodiesel and crude vegetable glycerine.

Read more about Expur

Consolidation of industrial activities
Logo Diester Industrie
Restructuring of Saipol and Diester Industrie
The revision of the European objectives regarding blending of biofuels has led Saipol and Diester Industrie to reduce their industrial footprint and refocus production on 6 industrial sites. The Venette (crushing and esterification) and Cappelle-La-Grande (esterification) sites were closed.

In June 2014, Saipol was restructured through a merger-absorption arrangement by Diester Industrie, and following this transaction adopted the name “SAIPOL”.

usine Bassens Biomasse
Improving energy performance
Saipol continues to invest in improving the energy performance of its industrial facilities and promoting biomass as an energy source for steam production at its industrial sites: biomass cogeneration at Grand-Couronne, sunflower hulling and biomass boiler at Bassens, biomass boiler at Sète, biomass boiler at Lezoux.
A new strategy for Saipol
Bateau cargaison
2015 - 2017
New governance and strategy
From 2017 onwards, Saipol, faced with international competition in the commodity biodiesel market, has initiated its growth strategy in speciality products.

Saipol launches Transform, its transformation programme which aims to deploy its future growth drivers within the Avril plant sector by 2023.

Logo Saipol
A new logo to support the strategy
Saipol has a new more modern, more “vegetal” logo, which reflects Saipol’s ambition to move forward, innovate, and lead the entire sector in its transformation. The letter “o” in Saipol’s name shows a leaf, which illustrates Saipol’s core business in plant processing, a seed, which illustrates the crushing of oilseeds, and a green flame, which represents Saipol’s role in renewable energy from plants.
Intérieur usine
Start of sunflower lecithin production
Saipol launched the production of sunflower lecithin with the construction of a production plant in Bassens and the acquisition of two companies,Novastell (in 2017) and Lecico (in 2019), which distribute lecithin to customers in the food and nutraceutical industries.
Launch of Feedmarket
In February 2018, Saipol launched the Feedmarket e-commerce solution for the sale of protein-rich cakes to feed manufacturers and farmers.

Learn more about Feedmarket

Chargement Oleo100
Launch of Oleo100 energy
At the end of 2018, Oleo100, a new energy from French rapeseed produced by Saipol, and intended for transport and community fleets, was officially launched.

On 26 December 2018, after initial tests at our customers’ sites, the first tanker carrying Oleo100 was loaded from the Saipol plant in Grand-Couronne and headed for the Rhône.

Learn more about Oleo100

Ingerieurs Saipol dans l'usine
Refocusing by Saipol on specialities
In November 2019, Saipol announces its refocusing on speciality products and the resizing of its industrial park.

See the press release

Tracteur dans un champ
Launch of OleoZE
In the spring of 2020, Saipol rolled out its OleoZE offer for the purchase of oilseeds from sustainable farming practices from farmers and collecting organisations.
The seeds collected via OleoZE ensure, via a calculator, that the real values of GHG reduction linked to farms are taken into account. Saipol processes the seeds into biodiesel with high GHG reduction and remunerates the farmers via a GHG bonus for their sustainable agricultural practices and their role in storing carbon in the soil.
OleoZE is available at www.oleoze.fr and from certified partner collecting organisations.
Cuve Oleo100
100 customers for Oleo100
On 23 June 2020, Saipol teams signed the 100th Oleo100 customer. As of June, 100,000 kilometres are already being driven every day fueled with energy from French rapeseed, which reduces GHG emissions by 60%. Thanks to these first 100 customers, 9,098,000 kg of CO2* (GHG equivalent) were not emitted into the atmosphere thanks to choosing our sustainable and immediately substitutable alternative to fossil diesel.
Usine Saipol à Dieppe
Reindustrialisation of the Saipol site in Dieppe
The Avril Group announces the reindustrialisation of the Saipol site in Dieppe to produce, in partnership with Royal DSM, vegetable proteins from rapeseed.

For more information, visit