PARIS (Reuters) - French sugar maker Cristal Union and Algerian food firm LaBelle signed a partnership to build a joint refinery in Algeria with an initial capacity of 350,000 tonnes of raw sugar per year, Cristal Union said on Monday.
The capacity is due to “rapidly” rise to 700,000 tonnes a year, the company said in a statement released after its meeting in Reims, east of Paris.
It also said that its consolidated turnover had dropped 8.7 percent last year, to 1.2 billion euros, due to a sharp drop in sugar prices.
The new refinery, an investment of 70 million euros, was likely to be operational by 2012 although there was no deadline for the project, a spokeswoman told Reuters.
Cristal Union is a grower-owned cooperative group which produced 850,000 tonnes of white sugar and 4.6 million hectolitres of alcohol-ethanol during the 2009-2010 campaign. It also makes animal feed byproducts.
LaBelle is a private company with a $500 million turnover that specialises in food processing and trading.