Omnicane buys 25 pct stake in Kenyan sugar company

Omnicane has acquired a 25 percent stake in a Kenyan sugar company for $20 million and its plantation and factory is expected to be up and running by 2014, the company said on Wednesday.

Mauritius-based Omnicane said that by mid-2013 the $200 million Kwale International Sugar Company (Kiscol) project – in which it is investing $20 million – will have created a greenfield 5,000 hectare sugarcane plantation with accompanying roads, irrigation and other infrastructure.

It said in a newspaper advertisement in Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper that by February 2014 Kiscol would have set up a factory with a capacity to crush 3,000 tonnes of cane per day and an 18MW cogeneration power plant, generating power from cane waste. After that it expects to put up a 30,000 litre bioethanol distillery.

Omnicane will be partnered by Kenya’s Pabari Investments, the Mauritian company said.

“We are expecting sugar production to start in early 2014, with production capacity of 80,000 tonnes, which could go up to 120,000 tonnes. The sugar output will be sold on the local market,” Omnicane Chief Executive officer Jacques d’Unienville told Reuters.

Omnicane’s pre-tax profit in the nine months to Sept. 30 fell 97 percent, hit by higher finance costs and lower sugar sales.

However, the company said that full-year pre-tax profit is expected to be in line with last year’s 577 million rupees, helped by improved profit from energy production in its last quarter.

Kenya’s leading grower and miller Mumias Sugar Company produced 172,614 tonnes of sugar in the year to June, down 27 percent.

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