(Bloomberg) -- Sucrivoire SA, Ivory Coast’s second-biggest sugar producer, plans to spend 150 million euros ($180 million) increasing output of the sweetener to meet growing demand, a key shareholder said.
The investment over the next five years will boost annual production to 160,000 metric tons from 90,000 tons, said Nicolas Maigrot, managing director of Mauritius-based Terra Mauricia Ltd., which owns 25 percent of Sucrivoire. The expansion will be financed mostly from retained earnings, and partly through borrowing from banks, he said.
“Investment will start as from this month,” Maigrot said in a interview Thursday in Beau Plan, north of Port Louis, the Mauritian capital. “We have to start the new refinery by the end of 2019.”
Ivory Coast produced 1.98 million tons of sugar cane in 2016, according to Food & Agriculture Organization statistics. The West African nation imports about 20 percent of its annual 250,000-ton refined-sugar requirement, according to Terra Mauricia, which is the second-biggest shareholder in Sucrivoire after Ivorian agro-industrial group Sifca, which owns 51.5 percent. Sucrivoire ranks second behind Sucaf Ivory Coast as the nation’s biggest producers.
“The idea is to be able to produce whatever they consume in the country,” Maigrot said. “This will help in terms of work, reduce unemployment, but also cut the amount of foreign currency on sugar imports.”
Terra Mauricia, the world’s largest producer of specialty sugars with annual output of about 88,000 tons, is seeking to further expand its footprint in Africa. Mauritius’s two biggest producers of the sweetener, Alteo Ltd. and Omnicane Ltd., are also involved in sugar production in Africa.
“If we can get into one other country in the next five years, it will be great,” Maigrot said.
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