Major Queensland sugar deal in the offing

Posted by Editorial on 11th July 2008

The Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries Tim Mulherin yesterday said he was delighted with the announcement of the proposed merger of Proserpine Co-operative and the newly formed Mackay Sugar Limited.

The merger between the two sugar producers is not yet finalised but is appears likely as both companies look to consolidate during a time that has seen a loss of good agricultural land.

“The increased tonnages that the proposed merger provides will enable us to achieve those design efficiencies,” Lou Raiteri, Chairman of the Proserpine Co-operative, said. “Further, the increased tonnages will also produce extra fibre that will increase furfural production and therefore improve returns from that part of the business.”

The Chairman of Mackay Sugar, Eddie Westcott, believes the proposal will allow for a streamlining of operations, which is vital in the current climate. “The proposed merger is a good solution for us from a risk management perspective,” he advised. “Like Proserpine, we are losing good agricultural land to hobby farmers, urban and industrial expansion attributable to a booming coal industry.”

Minister Mulherin added that the proposed merger was a very practical solution to help strengthen the sugar industry in the central region.

“In my view, the industry must continue to consolidate,” he claimed. “The milling sector will lead the way in diversification so a larger, stronger milling group in the central region will be a benefit to farmers, harvester operators, mill staff and employees.”

Mr Mulherin commented that this was a very positive move at a time when the industry was facing large cost increases and could be forgiven for being slightly negative. “I congratulate both organisations for having the vision and courage to lead the industry forward,” he concluded.