11 November, 2006
Hellenic Sugar Industry's shareholders on Friday agreed on a plan to withdraw 50.1 pct of the country's sugar production quota (around 157,000 tons) and to transform its two plants in Larissa and Xanthi into bio-ethanol production units.
Hellenic Sugar Industry chairman Thanassis Kaissis did not exclude a possibility of turning a third plant (probably the one based in Plati, Imathia prefecture) into a bio-ethanol unit as well, while he reiterated that no units would be closed unless the change-over plan is be tested before.
Nikolaos Kezos, representing state-run ATEBank (the main shareholders), said all five plants would end up closing in 2007 unless measures were taken, while he stressed that Hellenic Sugar Industry would continue its autonomous course, although he did not exclude the entry of a strategic partner into the bio-ethanol production at a later stage.
Hellenic Sugar will complete the withdrawal of its production quota (valued at 86 million euros) in two trenches, July 2008 and March 2009. The Greek government will receive 78 million euros via restructuring supports, to be offered to sugar beet producers.
Furthermore, a report by the German firm IPRO said the two transformed units could operate with pre-tax profits of 22.95 million euros in the period 2008-09 and 35.23 million euros in the period 2009-10, with a capacity of around 200,000 cubic metres and 300,000 cubic meters of bio-ethanol over the two periods, respectively.
Kaissis said the transformation costs would total 180 million euros.
Hellenic Sugar Industry's shareholders approved a share capital increase plan worth 4,471,117 euros through a two-for-10 share issue to shareholders.
Source: Athens News Agency