Sugar Technology
On-line News

May 2013

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A few interesting items this month :


Wilmar, which bought CSR/Sucrogen a couple of years back, has announced that it has bought 27.5% of Morocco’s Cosumar, the government controlled sugar producer. However, part of the deal is that the government will sell another 26.5% to ‘a consortium of Moroccan institutional investors’.


Cevital is saying that its Bajaia refinery in Algeria is currently producing at an annual capacity of 2 million tons and that it expects to have increased that to 2.75 million t/a by the end of this year. Its thrust is clearly on exports. It notes that its annualised export rate is now about 720 000 t/a.


Kenana is thinking big with an announcement of an IPO on the Johannesburg stock exchange next year. It is saying that it will use the money to double its output to 1 million tons of sugar by 2015. Now that is a challenge.


Lake Beseka, a saline lake next to Ethiopia’s Metehara sugar estate, is continuing to grow and is threatening not just the sugar estate but the whole of the downstream ecosystem which therefore encompasses the Tendaho sugar project. Scientists seem unsure as to why the growth continues but it looks as if it is a natural phenomenon and is not a result of human activity.


Some interesting statistics about the 2012 crop in Moçambique : 3.3 million tons of cane were harvested from just under 46 000 ha, producing about 397 000 tons of sugar. Domestic consumption was 164 000 tons so perhaps 230 000 tons was exported. The country exports all of its sugar to the EU.


Yet another announcement about a refinery in Oman but this one might have a chance of proceeding. Some reports state that the refinery will be owned by a joint venture between a local business man and Tate & Lyle Sugars [now owned by ASR] but others say that Tates is just there to procure the raw sugar for the refinery. The refinery, if it goes ahead will be in the port of Sohar, a mere 180 km from Dubai but on the ocean side of the Straight of Hormuz. The proposed capacity is said to be 1 million t/a.


India has finally taken the first steps to deregulate its sugar industry. In April the government announced the abolition of levy sugar and the monthly release mechanism. The levy system required producers to sell 10% of production to the government at sub-economic prices so that sugar was available for the Public Distribution System. The monthly release mechanism allowed the government to control the sugar price by dictating how much or how little sugar was sold into the market in any month.


Some of the growers around Australia’s Tableland mill, which is now owned by Maryborough Sugar, have decided to contract their cane to Mossman mill, owned by Mackay Sugar, from 2014. It isn’t as simple as that as you have to understand that Maryborough is controlled by Thailand’s Mitr Phol group. The growers produce about 700 000 tons of cane each year and that will now have to travel about 70 km to Mossman. There is no mention of who is paying the extra over transport cost.


The American Crystal lock-out is finally over after 20 months. The workers, now down to about half of the original number, voted by 55% to 45% in favour of the new contract in April but it will take at least another month to organise bringing them back into employment.


Yes, the Long Pond factory in Jamaica is still crushing and the owners intend to keep it that way. 6 200 tons of sugar were produced this crop from a total crop of 69 000 tons of cane. Perhaps the biggest achievement was a halving of the fuel oil burn but it was still 7 litres per ton of cane crushed!


The American Sugar Alliance commissioned an investigation into the Brazilian industry from the point of view of hidden subsidies. It shows that the industry benefits from direct and indirect support to the tune of about US$ 2.5 billion each year. Remember that this is one of the countries which took the EU to the WTO for unlawfully subsidising its sugar industry.

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