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Syrian-Brazilian refinery starts producing sugar


The factory, located in Homs region, in Syria, produces 1,000 tonnes a day, a volume that may be tripled in three months. The enterprise is the result of a joint venture between the Brazilian Crystalsev, multinational Cargill and Syrian businessman Najib Assaf. Raw sugar, used as an input, is imported from Brazil.

São Paulo – The operation phase of the largest sugar refinery in Syria, with a daily production capacity of 1,000 tonnes and perspectives to triple this total in the next three months, has started. This information was published yesterday (18) on the Internet site of Aljazeera TV. In February 2007, ANBA anticipated that production tests would begin at the end of last year and commercial operation would begin early this year.

The industrial unit, located in Homs region, is a joint venture between the Brazilian Crystalsev, multinational Cargill and businessman Najib Assaf, who is the majority partner. According to the Aljazeera site, Assaf said that the raw sugar used as an input comes from Brazil.

The businessman added, according to the site, that the Syrian market is absorbing the whole of production, but that the plan is also to sell to Jordan and Lebanon when the refinery reaches its full production capacity. The storage capacity at the factory is 270,000 tonnes of raw sugar and 80,000 tonnes of refined sugar.

The enterprise was announced in early 2004, soon after the visit by president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to the Arab country, in December 2003. Initial forecasts were for the plant to have started producing earlier, but it was delayed.

Brazil is the main producer and exporter of sugar and also the main supplier of the commodity to the Arab world. The product is by far the Brazilian product with greatest participation in the export basket to Syria. Just to give an idea, of the US$ 195.7 million in sales to the country last year, sugar answered to US$ 111.7 million, according to information by the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade.

The volume shipped rose from 349,400 tonnes in 2006 to 368,500 tonnes in 2007, which represents over half what the Syrian market consumes. According to the Aljazeera site, consumption in Syria is 700,000 tonnes per year and the country is considered the centre for the sweet industry in the region.

If the volume has risen, revenues dropped due to the depreciation of the commodity on the foreign market. The price per tonne of sugar fell from US$ 327 in 2006 to US$ 263 in 2007. The year before last, Brazil had exported the equivalent to US$ 130 million in sugar to Syria.


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