Welcome to our news page!
We try to bring you the latest news and comment on this page but it will always be a better place if you send us your news. You can write to us by clicking on the Contact link at the left.
not so much this month [and the world price is more or less stable!] :
LOUIS DREYFUS AGREES TO BUY IMPERIAL
Imperial Sugar and Louis Dreyfus announced a 'definitive agreement' on May 1 whereby Dreyfus will pay $6.35 per share for Imperial, a 57% premium over the closing price on April 30 and a 50% premium to the trailing 30-day volume weighted average price. The parties expect to move quickly with closing in Q2 2012 but if you were a shareholder who had seen about $25 a share just 9 months ago, what would you do?
TATE AND LYLE THAMES
A debate in the European Parliament [a somewhat toothless entity : the EU is ruled by unelected officials] became quite heated when one English member attacked the Commission for its sugar policy which is crippling the operations of Tate & Lyle [as was, now part of ASR] at its Thames refinery in London. Amazingly the member in question represents Norfolk which is the centre of the UK’s sugarbeet industry.
It certainly seems that Thames is being crippled : we hear that only 600 000 tons was melted last year in a refinery which is capable of 1.2 million tons.
With the last campaign being so good, Russia is running out of slice capacity. The Ministry of Agriculture has announced two new sugar factory projects for the region of Stavropol which is between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea just north of those semi-autonomous republics which buffer Russia from Georgia. Each will have a slice of 1 million tons per annum.
Khun Krisda, the CEO of Mitr Phol has been quoted as saying that it will revive its project in Cambodia [which never got beyond trial cane fields] and is looking to also invest in Burma/Myanmar. Part of the thinking seems to be linked the establishment of the Asean Economic Community in 2015 although, judging from the agricultural regimes of other economic communities, it may be a long time after 2015 before sugar becomes part of the scheme.
South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has also reported that it is ‘working with’ Mitr Pohl to build China’s largest sugar factory. No data is provided but the project is reported to require 18 square kilometres which is only 1 800 ha [unless they mean 18 km square which is over 500 000 ha].
Floods in Fiji last January look to have reduced the crop by 300 000 tons of cane and hence perhaps 27 000 tons of sugar. FSC works on a revenue of $1 000 per ton so are talking of a $27 million loss.
Imperial seems to be keeping itself afloat by selling off assets. In January we reported that it had sold its one third share in the new Louisiana Sugar Refinery and now the company has announced that it has sold its 50% stake in Wholesome Sweeteners, its joint venture with the UK’s Billingtons.
Complant, the Chinese company which formed Pan Caribbean Sugar when it bought Frome, Bernard Lodge and Monymusk last year, seems to be getting upset with the government which has not yet granted it a licence to sell its own sugar as it wants. This could be just the start of something much bigger : watch this space!
The Government of Peru says that it is ‘selling’ its remaining shares in Pomalca [33%], Tuman [7..2%] and Cayalti [24%] to the respective workers by the end of June this year. None of the companies have been performing well and owe the workers ‘wages, health insurance and other compensation’ which will be swapped for shares which could then be sold. The problem seems to be Cayalti : the shares are not being traded on the local exchange.
Datagro, the Brazilian forecaster, is predicting that Brazil’s Center South will produce 33.8 million tons of crystal and 21.8 billion litres of ethanol in the crop which is about to start. As that region produces about 90% of the country’s total, one can get a feel for the year. It expects Brazil to export about 26 million tons of crystal as a result.
A Chinese company called Sinolight has stated that it will be establishing a cane factory in Niger, West Africa, with an output of 100 000 tons of ‘refined sugar’. It is unclear whether it will be establishing an estate or just relying on local farmers.
Kenana has announced that it is planning an IPO on the Hong Kong market later this year, placing 25% of its shares and hoping to raise $200 million. In a flurry of public statements it has been boasting about the White Nile project which it says will start this month ramping up to the full capacity of 450 000 tons output over three years and has said that it is in talks with both the Chinese [Complant, the company that now owns the Jamaican industry] and Illovo with respect to new sugar projects.
The Government of Moçambique has announced that a group of [un-named] South African investors is about to start the development of new estate at Mopeia in that country’s Zambezia province which is to the north of the river. Mopeia is further upstream than Marromeu which is on the opposite bank of the river. It is reported that the first 10 000 ha will be planted this year but as the investment from South Africa is reported to be ‘about $1 million’, one has to question that.