We are pleased to announce to you that ASR today acquired a majority interest in Belize Sugar Industries Ltd (BSI).
This acquisition presented a unique opportunity to expand our sugar business by acquiring a key supplier of raw and direct consumption sugars to our refineries, primarily Thames. Our plans are to increase BSI’s production through the investment of capital in the mill and agricultural operations and the provision of management and technical services.
BSI owns the only sugar mill in Belize, which crushed 1,050,000 tons of sugar cane and produced 114,000 tons of sugar in its most recent crop. BSI farms 4,000 acres of cane and purchases 90% of its cane supply from some 6,000 independent growers who farm about 55,000 acres. BSI also operates a 30 MW biomass cogeneration plant that produces and sells renewable electricity to the Belize power grid, supplying 25% of the country’s electricity.
BSI produces raw sugar, demerara and plantation whites. While the white sugar is sold within the domestic Belize market, more than 85% of its total production is exported as raw sugar to the EU and US markets or as demerara to the UK and Canadian markets. Belize has full access to the EU market and is an important part of the supply to our Thames refinery. Belize also has a small quota to supply raw sugar to the US. Belize is the world’s largest supplier of Fair Trade sugar and the cane grown by BSI’s independent farmers qualifies as Fair Trade. Tate & lyle Sugar’s retail sugar is all sold as Fair Trade.
BSI and its independent farmers are the largest employers in Belize and an important part of the local economy. ASR, in partnership with the mill’s 475 employees and the Government of Belize, will give BSI the resources to expand its operations and we will utilize our team’s depth of sugar expertise to improve processes in order to increase supplies of raw sugar as well as value-added Fair Trade and demerara sugars to our operations.
Considering BSI’s proximity to our San Nicolas sugar mill in Veracruz, Mexico and the many similarities between their operations, ASR’s activities in Belize will report to Celestino Ruiz. We welcome BSI and its employees to the ASR Group.