Algeria's Cevital sees 2012 sugar exports at 1 million tonnes

Reuters, Sunday 22 Jan 2012

Privately-owned firm plans to increase sugar refining capacity and open new plant in Iraq, says owner

Algerian firm Cevital, the biggest sugar refiner in North Africa, expects to more than double sugar exports this year to 1 million tonnes after fixing technical problems at its main transport hub, the owner and chief executive said.

Issad Rebrab told Reuters that the privately held firm was also planning to increase its sugar refining capacity to 2.6 million tonnes a year, from 2 million tonnes, by the end of this year, and that it planned to open a refinery in Iraq.

Cevital had set itself the target of 1 million tonnes in annual exports several years back, but it has been frustrated by issues at Bejaia, the Mediterranean port east of the Algerian capital, which is home to its sugar refineries.

"We have been exporting only 377,000 (tonnes) because of loading problems at .. Bejaia. We have now resolved those problems," Rebrab told Reuters on Saturday in an interview. "We aim to export around 1 million tonnes this year."

"The production capacity of our sugar refinery in Bejaia is currently 2 million tonnes per year. We plan to increase it to 2.6 million tonnes by the end of this year."

Cevital imports most of its raw sugar from Brazil.

Rebrab said the company's strategy was to focus on supplying sugar demand in Algeria, which has a population of over 35 million, and to export any surpluses.

"We are exporting to around 28 countries including Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Syria, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Libya," he said.

"We are also planning to set up a refinery in Iraq," Rebrab said, without giving further details on the project.

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