Funds soon ready for new sugar factory

The financing of the construction for the over US$270 million state-of-the-art

multi-purpose sugar factory is being finalized.

The new facility is to replace the Andrews factory in St Joseph. Construction

was initially scheduled to start at the end of last year.

Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management,

Dr David Estwick said the final stages of preparation, including the long-term

financing, were being carried out and the funds for the project should be released

within two months.

Estwick, who singed off on the multi-million dollar procurement contract with

Japan last December, told reporters the Japanese were scheduled to

arrive in Barbados this week to carry out their evaluation and finalize their part

of the financing.

“The Ansa Merchant Bank is now carrying out its discussions with the investors

and as of [Wednesday] morning I was informed by the general manager of BAMC

that they have indicated that they should be able to have all the funding for the

field side in place by March,” said the minister.

“So I am confident therefore, given that we already have the term sheets

for the financing signed several months ago, that this is the final stage . . . . So

I am making sure we have the money and then we move to execute the new

construction,” he said.

Estwick did not give a new intended start date for construction, but give some

of the specification of products for the new facility.

“We are going to produce, apart from specialty sugars, domestic sugar and stop

importing all that bad sugar from all over the place and save about $30 million

when the year come,” he said.

In addition, he said that the facility would produce about 25 megawatts of

electricity to be tied into the national grid, as well as alcohol that could be used as

an additive within the automotive sector.

The minister made the comments on Wednesday, following the official handing

over of the first reconstructed molasses tank at the Harbour Road location.

The tanks are being rebuilt by Preconco Limited through a lease arrangement.

He said a part of the funding from Ansa Merchant Bank

was designated specifically for a seven-year upgrade plan on

the field side “so that we can now give the farmers a higher

stipend in regards to the cane planting scheme and give

them all of the money they would need to bring all of the

management practices up to mark”.

Built into the overall funding as well, is for the establishment

of a central facility where all the major equipment required for

use on a plantation in dealing with sugar would be stored.

“We have built in about US$35 million to be able to

purchase your [harvesting machines], loaders, cutters, and so

on which will be managed in a separate way in regards to the

entire industry,” said Estwick. (MM)

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