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May 2012

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so much for saying the world price was stable last month! :


The world price, having remained stable for six months, took a tumble in the second half of April :

World Price

What happens next will depend on what the Brazilian CS crop turns out to be and whether the monsoon will or will not be good in India later this year.


Early in April Imperial announced that it had already closed the deal with the buyer of its 50% stake in Wholesome [see the April News] but the real work was going on behind the scenes. On May 1 Imperial announced that it had a 'definitive agreement' whereby Louis 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 there have already been a flurry of law firms announcing breaches of fiduciary duty and threatening lawsuits while one investor is already reported to have sued to block the sale. It should be interesting days ahead.


The Chinese owners of the main part of what was once SCJ are pressing ahead with plans to sell their sugar direct instead of through Jamaica Cane Product Sales which, up to now, has had a legally enforced monopoly on the sales from the island. The problem is that there is currently only one export terminal [in St Ann] so the Chinese will have to build a new one.


As the Brazilian centre south crop starts we have seen the usual range of predictions as to what might happen this year in the region. Most of the forecasts are optimistic [not surprising as last year was so poor] but the hesitant start due to late rains has made people nervous and at least one forecaster is predicting a similar size crop to last year : watch this space!


There seems to be a move afoot to rationalise the Vietnamese industry which has become very fragmented as it transitions from state to private ownership. Privately owned Société de Bourbon Tay Ninh – no longer owned by France’s Bourbon Group – has announced that it will increase its ownership of Bien Hoa, another private sugar company.


The PSMA [Philippines’ millers association] is pushing for the government to actively promote electrical export on Mindanao from biomass [which for them presumably means bagasse]. The association is looking for a [good] price for the electricity which could be produced to support what is a rather unreliable grid on the island.


Simbhaoli’s sugar refinery in Kandla, a port in western Gujarat, has been much talked about but there has been little activity. That may change now that ED&F Man has signed an agreement with Simbhaoli to develop the refinery jointly. The melt rate is reported to be 1000 t/d.


A Russian bank has announced plans to build a new beet factory in Voronezh region. It is reported that the slice will be 1 million tons per annum and the capital cost $340 million.


Sudan’s US$ 1.1 billion White Nile project was due to be officially inaugurated by the President early last month but that was postponed [some would say ‘again’] at the last minute and the Minister of Industry was forced to resign. It would seem that the control system is not functional because the hardware adopted requires software which cannot be delivered to Sudan without breaking the US sanctions on the country.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Sudan it is being claimed that Saudi Arabia has been allocated 2 million acres [over 800 000 ha] for farming projects. Although it wasn’t mentioned, one assumes that this was in exchange for an assured oil supply as the Sudan lost its oilfields when the newly created South Sudan split away.


The sugar project at Kwale, just south of Mombasa I Kenya, looks set to finally start. It is partly owned by Mauritius’ Omnicane. The factory will reportedly be a 3000 tcd unit with an ethanol plant but as the report also said that the power station would be rated at 18 MW, who knows?


At least one of the projects which was licensed by the government last year when sugar supplies became critical in Uganda last year, is going ahead. Sugar and Allied Industries Limited says that it will start soon on its factory in eastern Uganda at Busoga. The emphasis seems to be on electrical export with the factory reported to have a 12 MW station, 8MW of which will be exported.

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