The financing of the construction for the over US$270 million state-of-the-art
multi-purpose sugar factory is being finalized.
The new facility is to replace the Andrews factory in St Joseph. Construction
was initially scheduled to start at the end of last year.
Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management,
Dr David Estwick said the final stages of preparation, including the long-term
financing, were being carried out and the funds for the project should be released
within two months.
Estwick, who singed off on the multi-million dollar procurement contract with
Japan last December, told reporters the Japanese were scheduled to
arrive in Barbados this week to carry out their evaluation and finalize their part
of the financing.
“The Ansa Merchant Bank is now carrying out its discussions with the investors
and as of [Wednesday] morning I was informed by the general manager of BAMC
that they have indicated that they should be able to have all the funding for the
field side in place by March,” said the minister.
“So I am confident therefore, given that we already have the term sheets
for the financing signed several months ago, that this is the final stage . . . . So
I am making sure we have the money and then we move to execute the new
construction,” he said.
Estwick did not give a new intended start date for construction, but give some
of the specification of products for the new facility.
“We are going to produce, apart from specialty sugars, domestic sugar and stop
importing all that bad sugar from all over the place and save about $30 million
when the year come,” he said.
In addition, he said that the facility would produce about 25 megawatts of
electricity to be tied into the national grid, as well as alcohol that could be used as
an additive within the automotive sector.
The minister made the comments on Wednesday, following the official handing
over of the first reconstructed molasses tank at the Harbour Road location.
The tanks are being rebuilt by Preconco Limited through a lease arrangement.
He said a part of the funding from Ansa Merchant Bank
was designated specifically for a seven-year upgrade plan on
the field side “so that we can now give the farmers a higher
stipend in regards to the cane planting scheme and give
them all of the money they would need to bring all of the
management practices up to mark”.
Built into the overall funding as well, is for the establishment
of a central facility where all the major equipment required for
use on a plantation in dealing with sugar would be stored.
“We have built in about US$35 million to be able to
purchase your [harvesting machines], loaders, cutters, and so
on which will be managed in a separate way in regards to the
entire industry,” said Estwick. (MM)