French sugar maker Tereos may sell some assets that are not core to its business, including a unit in Indonesia, senior officials from the group said, adding the disposals were not needed to cope with debt that should decline as costs fall.
Tereos, one of the world’s largest sugar and ethanol producers through its activities in Brazil, recorded sales totalling €6.6 billion ($7.18 billion) in the year to 31 March, while its debt reached €2.4 billion at the end of September.
‘Serene About Our Debt’
“Today we are serene about our debt after going through very difficult times. Tomorrow if we have the opportunity to sell the Indonesia activities, maybe so, if it is sold at a good price, but today there is no need to continue our sales to reduce the debt,” Tereos chairperdon Gerard Clay told Reuters in an interview.
Tereos has a corn starch joint venture with KFS Group in Indonesia.
The group may also be willing to sell a starch-making facility in Brazil, Tereos chief executive Olivier Leducq said.
Clay became chairman after an internal feud late in 2020 and oversaw the sale of non-core assets in China, Mozambique and Romania that helped Tereos to cut its structural debt, although high costs, notably for energy, led working capital requirements to double and kept overall debt high.
As energy and grain costs have fallen, Leducq predicted debt this year would be “down sharply this year compared to last year”. He declined to give an indication of the size of the fall.
EU Sugar Prices
A fall in EU sugar prices since late last year would not weigh on the company results this year, but could do so in the mid-term as volumes increase and prices extend their fall, Leducq said.
European sugar prices hit record highs in November due to tight supplies, but have since fallen after a surge in imports from Ukraine.
The group does not plan to sell any its main business based on sugar beet and starch activities in Europe and sugar activities in Brazil, the officials said, after several of the 11,000 cooperative members in Tereos told Reuters they were concerned it might do so.