A delegation from Italy’s Eridania Sadam arrived in Jamaica intending on doing a feasibility study with a view to acquisition of three SCJ factories still awaiting divestment, reported local newspapers.
The factories are Frome, Monymusk and Bernard Lodge, and their plans include the setting up of a refinery in Frome. The Italian delegation will meet with Jamaican officials, following some contacts made in Rome a couple of months ago.
Eridiana is reported as controlling one third of the Italian sugar beet sector, and was shortlisted last May as a potential buyer for SCJ factories. In late June, the government announced the divestment of two SCJ factories, the Trelawny Sugar Company (Long Pond) and St Thomas Sugar Company to Everglades Farms and to a consortium comprising Fred Jones – the island’s largest cane farmer – and Seprod respectively. The Trewlany factory was sold at USD 1.5 million, while St Thomas at USD 500,000. Additionally, long-term leases on land were agreed at USD 40 per hectare in the former, and USD 54 in the latter.
The Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) was slated for divestment a couple of years ago. In 2008, the Brazilian Infinity Bioenergy won the bidding process to acquire its five factories, but the sale was never completed. The Brazilian argued difficulties arising from the global financial crisis and the deal was called off in January 2009.