Sudan to sell stakes in sugar plants

Sudan, struggling with an economic crisis and a budget deficit, plans to sell stakes in four state-owned sugar plants to attract partners, the official news agency SUNA said.

The African country has been trying to boost its sugar output to offset the loss of most oil production, the main export product, to South Sudan after partition in 2011. Oil used to be the biggest source of state income and foreign currency.

The state-owned Sudanese Sugar Company is looking for partners in its Guneid, Halfa, Sennar and Assalaya plants, its director Bakr Mahjub told SUNA on Saturday, adding that the state would not completely withdraw from the firm.

He gave no details and could not be immediately reached for comment. The sugar firm is owned by the central bank and finance ministry, according to its website.

The Guneid plant plans to increase its production to 115 000 tons annually from 60 000 tons under a 2010-2015 expansion plan, SUNA said. The Halfa factory would raise its output to 115 000 tons from 75 000 tons.

Sudan has been trying to improve the efficiency of the Sudanese Sugar Company, which is much smaller than the country’s main firm, the Kenana Sugar Company, which is owned by the governments of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

Kenana plans to more double its sugar output to one million tons by 2015, it said last month.

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