Sugar firm plans to boost capacity

March 2016

Bahrain’s Arabian Sugar Company, which came onstream in 2014 and produced 200,000 tonnes of white sugar last year, is looking to increase working capital to boost capacity and find more customers, the company said, according to a Reuters report.

The refinery’s current installed capacity is 600,000 tonnes.

“When you don’t have enough working capital you can’t bring in more raw sugar and open letters of credit,” chief executive Yves El Mallat said before the Kingsman Platts Sugar conference in Dubai.

“This is why this year we didn’t have a big portfolio of customers.”

El Mallat said he was working towards raising capital and should reach full capacity soon. The refinery’s biggest export destination is Saudi Arabia, with around 50 per cent of production going there.

“The local market in Bahrain is very small so we work there but we also export mostly to Saudi Arabia and also to Kuwait and Qatar,” El Mallat said.

The refinery sold around 70,000 tonnes to the Iraqi market in 2015 but the export market there is shrinking as the Babylon-based Etihad sugar refinery ramps up production.

Arabian Sugar Company has a five-year contract with Bunge Limited to supply it with raw sugar. That contract ends in 2017.

“It is all Brazilian,” El Mallat said. “It is a contract, I would say an exclusive one, but we have the right if we find a lower price than what they offer to ask them to match it,” he said.

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