Egypt's Al Nouran plant sugar to start operations in Q4 2016: CEO

Sunday 01-02-2015 07:46 PM
Egypt's Al Nouran plant sugar to start operations in Q4 2016: CEO

Workers prepare sugar cane before cooking the sugar to make black honey, at a small factory in the southern Egyptian town of Nagaa Hamady in Qena, some 700 km (435 miles) south of Cairo, January 10, 2010. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih


DUBAI (Reuters) - Egypt's Al Nouran sugar production facility, a 2.5 billion Egyptian pound ($357 million) project, will begin operations in the last quarter of 2016, the firm's chairman and chief executive officer Ashraf Mahmoud told Reuters on Sunday.

"In the last quarter 2016 we start refining, first quarter of 2017 we start producing," Mahmoud said at the Kingsman Platts Dubai Sugar conference.

The facility in Sharkiya province is expected to have an annual output of 250,000 tonnes using beet and then refine raw sugar when beet is not in season. Its refining capacity is 300,000 tonnes, Mahmoud said.

The beet season in Egypt runs from the end of January to May or mid-June.

The North African country, which depends on the Nile for almost all its water, is trying to expand sugar beet planting as it consumes less water than cane.

Beet is mostly grown in the Nile Delta region while cane sugar is grown in southern Egypt.

Al Nouran also hopes to start ethanol production from the new plant and to export around 100,000 tons of sugar after covering domestic demand.

"We will export the excess capacity. Egypt's local market has a deficit of 1 million tons," he said, adding the company is eyeing markets in the Middle East North Africa region as well as in east Africa for future exports.

Al Nouran's new plant could reduce Egypt's reliance on imported sugar by up to 25 percent.

The country consumes around 3.2 million tonnes of sugar annually.

Shareholders in the project include Al Nouran Multitrading, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, the Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and theEgyptian Sugar & Integrated Industries Co.

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