Wilmar keen to expand sugar ops

SINGAPORE: Singapore's Wilmar International, the world's largest listed palm oil firm, said yesterday it was keen to grow its sugar business by setting up operations in Indonesia and Brazil.

Wilmar, which also deals in soyabean, wheat and rice, identified sugar as another core business on Monday when it agreed to buy Sucrogen, Sydney-based CSR's sugar business, for US$1.5 billion (US$1 = RM3.22).

"Sucrogen will allow Wilmar to build a leading position in sugar, starting with Indonesia," the Singapore-listed firm said.

Wilmar plans to combine Sucrogen, the world's second largest exporter of raw sugar and Australia's top maker of sugar-based ethanol, with its fledgling sugar operations in Indonesia.

Wilmar, the second-largest listed firm on the Singapore bourse, has a concession to develop 200,000ha of grassland in Indonesia's Papua island for sugar cultivation which it will start later this year. "The priority is to build the Indonesian sugar operations." - Reuters

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