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Sugar industry corporate profiles - Introduction

23 July 2014

EU sugar sector reforms have not only impacted on sugar prices and the market access arrangements for ACP sugar, but have also resulted in major corporate restructuring of EU sugar sector enterprises. This has seen a range of takeovers and mergers taking place and a significant reduction in the number of sugar factories, against a background of the internationalisation of several EU sugar companies. This has occurred both as a result of the corporate expansion of EU sugar companies to include overseas (non-EU) holdings and also as a result of the takeover of EU companies by major global sugar sector companies.

The 2005 process of EU sugar sector reforms included making import licences available to non-traditional importers. With continued quantitative ceilings on domestic sugar production, beet-based sugar companies invested in a substantial expansion in their capacity to co-refine raw cane sugar. This increased competition for duty-free sugar imports and created commercial difficulties for traditional raw cane sugar refiners, who saw the capacity utilisation of their refineries fall dramatically. This gave rise to calls from traditional cane sugar refiners to broaden out access for duty-free imports into the EU from non-LDC/ACP producers.

With the full implementation of EU sugar sector reforms involving the abolition of quotas on sugar production from domestic beet scheduled for completion in October 2017, this raises a number of questions for ACP sugar exporters:

  • Which current raw cane sugar co-refiners are likely to remain co-refiners of raw cane sugar post 2017?
  • What routes to market should ACP sugar exporters plan to maximise net revenues on sugar sales to the EU market?
  • How can ACP sugar exporters position themselves on EU sugar markets between 2014 and 2017, so that they have secure commercial relationships to sustain profitable sugar exports to the EU in the period following the abolition of production quotas?
  • What will be the position of traditional EU raw cane sugar refiners after October 2017, and how will the current plight of traditional ACP cane sugar refiners affect the evolution of the EU sugar trade regime?

To help ACP sugar exporters get to grips with these questions, the CTA Agritrade service is compiling a series of corporate profiles of EU sugar companies reviewing:

  • their ownership structure;
  • their global reach;
  • their installed EU-based production capacity;
  • recent developments in refining operations and market developments impacting on each company;
  • their links to ACP sugar sectors;
  • issues and prospects.

It is hoped that these corporate profiles will assist ACP policy makers, sugar sector operators and sugar farmers’ organisations get a better understanding of the challenges faced as the EU sugar reform process enters its final stage of implementation.

Read the sugar industry corporate profiles:

Tate & Lyle/American Sugar Refining

Suiker Unie/Royal Cosun

British Sugar/Associated British Foods




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