Cargill involved in major Middle East sugar project

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sugar, Stock

Construction of a million-tonne state-of-the-art sugar refinery in
Syria is set to begin next week.

The consortium behind the scheme says that work on the Jandar facility will commence once all the necessary regulatory permits from the Syrian government are received.

The refinery will produce refined sugar for industrial and retail use that will be sold on the Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian and Lebanese markets.

Jandar is 30 km south of Homs, and the facility will be built on a 250,000 sq m site. The facility will cost in the region of $80m.

Production is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2007.

The refinery will be one of the largest of its kind in the world and has been designed with the potential to double capacity to meet growing regional demand.

The National Sugar Company has been created specifically to operate the facility. The company is a subsidiary of Syrian Sugar Refinery Holding, a holding company comprising several shareholders.

The majority shareholder is Najib Assaf, a Syrian national, who is also chairman of the National Sugar Company. Minority shareholders include Cargill, The Wellington Group, Crystalsev and SugarInvest.

"This is by far the largest industrial project to be undertaken by the private sector in Syria and neighbouring countries,​ said Assaf in Damascus.

"The building and operating of the sugar refinery will combine the complementary talents of all the shareholders. It will create employment in the region for hundreds of Syrians and make the national consumer market self-sufficient in high quality refined sugar."

Syria is deficit in its sugar cultivation so raw cane sugar will be the feedstock for the refinery. This will be sourced and shipped with the aid of the Brazilian shareholder Crystalsev and food giant Cargill.

Once operational the refinery will process just over one million tonnes of raw sugar to produce one million tonnes of refined product. The refined sugar will be bagged and sold in 50 kg bags using the expertise of regional trading company The Wellington Group.

UK-based corporate finance firm, International Investment Trust, has acted as financial adviser to the project.

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