ABF Acquires Leading Spanish Sugar Producer

Associated British Foods plc, the international food, ingredients and retail group, has today announced that it has reached agreement with Ebro Puleva S.A. to acquire its Spanish sugar business, Azucarera Ebro S.L., for a value of Euro 385m. Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is likely to occur in early 2009, they say.

Azucarera Ebro is the leading sugar producer in Iberia supplying some 50% of the 1.6 million tonnes of sugar consumed. Historically the business processed sugar from eight beet factories and had a beet quota of 741,000 tonnes. Following its agreement to permanently renounce 363,000 tonnes of quota from October 2009 it will process at three factories in northern Spain and a factory at Guadalete in southern Spain. To supplement the reduced beet quota of 378,000 tonnes a cane refinery is being built at Guadalete, which is near the port of Cadiz. It will have a capacity of 400,000 tonnes of sugar and is expected to be operational in late 2009. The refinery will process cane raws, sourced from Least Developed Countries with tariff-free access to the EU from October 2009, which will be supplied mainly by Illovo Sugar.