Imperial Sugar, 2 others to build cane sugar plant

AP News
Posted: Nov 20, 2009 1:46 PM

Imperial Sugar Co. said Friday it has entered a three-way joint venture to build a cane sugar refinery next to its existing factory in Gramercy, La.

The joint venture, called Louisiana Sugar Refining LLC, also includes Sugar Growers and Refiners Inc. and Cargill Inc. It is a three-way split, with each contributing $30 million in cash or assets to fund the venture. A portion of Imperial's contribution is 207 acres of land.

Sugar Growers will supply raw cane sugar, and Cargill of Wayzata, Minn., will market the venture's refined sugar.

The joint venture also closed financing agreements for $145 million to build the plant.

It will be built next to Imperial Sugar's existing sugar refinery, which will stay open during construction. Construction and start-up is expected to take 18 to 24 months.

Shares of Imperial Sugar, based in Sugar Land, Texas, rose 8 cents to $14.62 in early afternoon trading.