£50M investment by British Sugar in UK plants

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bury st edmunds British sugar

British Sugar makes the Silver Spoon range of sugars
British Sugar makes the Silver Spoon range of sugars
British Sugar is investing £50M in its four existing UK sugar beet factories this year, a spokeswoman for the Associated British Foods (ABF) subsidiary has confirmed.

“We are investing close to £50M in the current year to maintain and improve the efficiency of our four operating sites and anticipate further on-going investments over the next few years,”​ she told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

The money is being used to help boost production and slash operating costs and includes investment in eco-friendly features to reduce the impact of energy bills on the business. It is unknown whether this will result in new jobs, but the focus is believed to be on installing more efficient equipment.

New features will include a thick juice import and export capability at Cantley, Norfolk, and increased juice tank capacity at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

Green features

Existing green features include combined heat and power systems, which produce steam and electricity. High performance combined cycle gas turbines have already been installed at the Bury St Edmunds and Wissington factories, efficiently generating even more electricity for sale.

The latest statement follows local press reports suggesting British Sugar aimed to invest up to £100M in the next three years in plants in the east of England.

The cash injection would also help defend profit margins in the face of global oversupply and predicted drops in sugar price, FoodManufacture.co.uk understands.

Weaker performance in sugar

In its pre-close trading statement for the half year to March 1, ABF flagged up a weaker performance in sugar, predicting drops in revenue and profit​. It attributed this to the planned reduction in EU sugar prices, ahead of the abolition of the EU sugar quota system in 2017.

British Sugar runs four processing plants, located in the east of England and the East Midlands. According to the company, they produce 2.1Mt of product every year, including its branded Silver Spoon range.

A total of 3,600 farmers supply the factories and 7.5Mt of sugar beet and delivered to them every year.

The business makes a variety of sugar products, including dry, liquid, organic and Fairtrade sugars and syrups for retail and foodservice customers.

In addition to factories at Bury St Edmunds, Wissington and Cantley, British Sugar runs a fourth factory at Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire.

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