March 8, 2010 / 5:38 PM / in 8 years

French and Algerian firms to build sugar refinery

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.

<p>Farmers pack sugar cane in the southern Egyptian town of Nagaa Hamady in Qena, some 700 km (435 miles) south of Cairo, January 10, 2010. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih</p>

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.

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