Jamaica – Government inviting investors to run a sugar factory

The Jamaica government is seeking investors to take over the operations of the Monymusk sugar factory after the owner Pan-Caribbean Sugar Company Limited, a subsidiary of Chinese-based Hua Lien International Holding Co. Ltd, ceased operations after significant losses, according to local press reports.

Last April, the company announced that it had recorded losses of JM$7.3 billion (US$56.8 mln) for 2015 following upon the JM$3.2 billion (US$24.9 mln) deficit it suffered the previous year.

The company sold 50,900 tonnes of raw sugar and 35,200 tonnes of molasses in 2015, compared with 54,900 tonnes of raw sugar and 31,400 tonnes of molasses in 2014 resulting in its revenue falling from JM$4.6 billion to JM$4.5 billion.

Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Karl Samuda said the government had received several offers from potential investors and talks are at the preliminary stage to find “not just somebody who knows how to handle money, but somebody who knows about the (sugar) industry”.

He said the aim is to ensure that Jamaica will never again “find [itself] in a position where our production is compromised by inadequate attention to the fields where all the money is made”.

In the middle of last year, the Government entered into a short-term management agreement with Pan Caribbean which saw it operating the sugar factory as it moved to save the livelihoods of farmers who depend on the factory.

The arrangement for the government to temporarily take over the operations at Monymusk came a few years after Pan Caribbean bought the Frome, Monymusk and Bernard Lodge sugar factories from the government.

International Sugar Journal

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