Dubai's Al Khaleej says has enough raw sugar for this year

Company says it may look to buy Indian and Pakistani sugar once they become available on the market
By Reuters
Sun 01 Feb 2015 04:15 PM

Dubai's Al Khaleej Sugar Refinery has 1.5 million tonnes of raw sugar, either stockpiled at the refinery or on its way to the refinery, enough to meet its demand until the end of 2015, Jamal Al Ghurair, managing director of the refinery, said on Sunday.

"Currently we don't need to import anything. It depends on the price as we have enough stocks. It can take us until the end of this year," Ghurair told Reuters in an interview at the Kingsman Platts Dubai Sugar Conference.

The origin of the sugar is mostly Brazilian but Ghurair said he would look to buy Indian and Pakistani sugar once they become available on the market if the price is right.

Ghurair also said he expected the whites-over-raws premium, a measure of sugar refining profitability, to remain subdued for 2015 at a range of $50 to $60 a tonne.

"Overcapacity of refining will keep pushing the white premium down," he said.

Al Khaleej does not have any plans to expand at the moment but Ghurair said consolidation in the refining business was necessary for the industry to move forward.

"At the moment we have to survive, no expansion plans," Ghurair said.

The refinery is not looking at any takeover targets at the moment but is open to the idea.

"We are open to the idea but there is nothing at the moment that is ready, it depends on what is the number, what is the price and the terms. This is theoretical at this stage but the market does need consolidation," Ghurair said.

Al Khaleej would look to export its sugar to Europe when production quotas are lifted in 2017, if that is made practical.

Ghurair said that would exert pressure on European Union producers to stop dumping sugar.

"If there is an opportunity we will be exporting at least to keep pressure on them not to dump on the market."

Al Khaleej exported 500,000 tonnes of sugar to Iraq in 2014.

Ghurair said business in Iraq remained uninterrupted despite the violence there.

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