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lllovo Sugar announces £100 million investment in Mali


22 November 2007

IllovoSugar announced on 12 November that it had approved an investment in the sugar industry in Mali. Associated British Foods plc (“ABF”), the international food, ingredients and retail group holds a 51% stake in Illovo Sugar.

Illovo Sugar will hold a 70% stake in an investment of 1.4 billion rand (£100 million) for the construction of a new sugar mill, an ethanol plant and an electricity co-generation unit in Mali. The remaining stake will be held by the Government of Mali and private investors. Illovo will also manage a Mali Government-sponsored agricultural development to produce the 1.5 million tonnes of sugar cane per annum required to supply this new facility.

Sugar production will begin in December 2009, reaching full capacity two years later. The mill will ultimately produce 200,000 tonnes of sugar per annum and the ethanol plant 15 million litres per annum.

George Weston, Chief Executive of Associated British Foods, said:
“This investment in Mali follows Illovo’s recently announced expansion in Zambia and is further evidence of the region’s development potential and our commitment to it.”

For further information please contact:

Associated British Foods
John Bason, Finance Director
Tel: 020 7399 6500

Geoff Lancaster, Head of External Affairs
Tel: 07860 56 26 59

Citigate Dewe Rogerson:
Jonathan Clare/Chris Barrie/Hannah Seward
Tel: 020 7638 9571

Notes to Editors

  1. Associated British Foods is a diversified international food, ingredients and retail group with sales of £6.8billion and 85,000 employees in 43 countries. It has significant businesses outside Europe in southern Africa, the US, China and Australia.

    Its aim is to achieve strong, sustainable leadership positions in markets that offer potential for profitable growth. We look to achieve this through a combination of growth of existing businesses, acquisition of complementary new businesses and achievement of high levels of operating efficiency. The group has established a track record of successful value adding acquisitions including a 51% stake in Illovo Sugar, Africa's biggest cane sugar producer with extensive agricultural and manufacturing operations in six African countries, AB Mauri (its leading international yeast and bakery ingredients business), Littlewoods stores for Primark and the grocery brands Mazola, Ovaltine and Patak's.
  2. Illovo Sugar, which is listed on the JSE, is the largest cane sugar producer in Africa and one of the world’s lowest cost producers. It is the leading producer in South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Swaziland and has a strong and growing presence in Tanzania and Mozambique. It produced 1.7 million tonnes of sugar in the 2006/7 season and has development programmes to expand its capacity substantially.
  3. British Sugar is a substantial business within ABF. It has operations in the UK, Poland, China and southern Africa which process some 4 million tonnes of sugar annually. It is the most efficient sugar producer in Europe and has a proven ability to create value through improvement in agricultural yields, operational efficiencies, co-product development, marketing and product innovation. It has world class production facilities and technical expertise. The largest and most efficient beet sugar factory in the world is at Wissington in Norfolk and this is also the site for the UK’s first bioethanol plant.

    British Sugar has four cane sugar mills in Guangxi province in southern China and sugar production exceeded 0.5 million tonnes in 2006/7. It announced on 24 August 2007 its first investment in the beet sugar industry in north east China.