China's bid for sugar mills
THE NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative has begun talks with a Chinese company about a possible sale of its sugar processing mills at Harwood, Condong and Broadwater.
Co-operative chief executive Chris Connors said a meeting had already taken place in Sydney between the mill and the interested company.
“We have had a very preliminary meeting,” Mr Connors said.
“Nothing is concrete.
“It’s part of an overall plan.”
Mr Connors said the co-operative had adopted a business plan two years ago which included the possibility of ‘restructuring,’ and had been talking with ‘a lot of other parties’.
Speaking on radio yesterday co-operative chairman Ian Causley said Bright Food wanted to begin talks with the co-operative and if the company made an offer the board was required to make an assessment.
Mr Causley said the co-operative would be keeping its options open.
Wardell canegrower Alex Pring said he would wait to learn more before commenting, but pointed out that a majority of co-operative members would have to agree to any sale.
“We are a co-operative and I think you need something like 75 per cent of members to agree,” he said.
The NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative has a market share of about 4.5pc of Australia’s $2.5 billion dollar sugar industry.
The co-operative generated revenue of $88 million last year.
It was set up in 1878 by about 600 cane growers who bought three mills in NSW.
It also holds a 50 per cent stake in Manildra Harwood Sugars, which owns and operates the only sugar refinery in NSW.
A representative of the Guangxi Shang Shang Sugar Company, based in Shanghai and owned by Bright Food, said it could not comment on the possible bid.