Goldstar Sugars returns to production

starafrica company secretary Aldo Musemburi.

SUGAR production at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed outfit, starafricacorporation Limited, has resumed after the firm agreed with raw material suppliers to improve terms, the firm said yesterday.

The company’s sugar production unit, Goldstar Sugars halted production at its Harare plant on February 13, before cautioning investors a few days later, citing rocketing raw material prices.

In a market update, starafrica said Goldstar Sugars returned to production on Sunday, and requisite updates have been sent to stakeholders.

“The board of directors of starafricacorporation Limited is pleased to inform its stakeholders that the refinery at Goldstar Sugars (GSS) resumed operations on Sunday, 19 February 2023,” company secretary Aldo Musemburi said in a statement.

“This followed the successful resolution of the pricing of raw sugar and the trading terms thereon, between the company and the raw sugar supplier.”

He added that GSS had resumed supplying granulated white sugar to the market.

“Customers have been advised of this development and the resultant refined sugar prices,” he said.

After starafricacorporation shut its Harare plant last week, the Association of Sugarcane Farmers defended the price increases saying farmers were selling raw sugar below cost.

It is not only starafricacorporation that has been facing problems.

Last week, Zimbabwe’s major sugar maker, Hippo Valley Estates, said it had entered its third month of operating without a key plant.

In a trading update for the third quarter ended December 31, 2022, the firm said the line closed in November.

Sugar output fell by 1% to 207 430 tonnes during the period, compared to 209 239 tonnes during the comparable period in 2021.

It was a massive slowdown for the Zimbabwean market, given that Hippo controlled 52,3% of the domestic market’s total sugar sales volumes during the period.

Economic analysts immediately predicted painful times ahead for Zimbabwe’s sugar market, with some projecting a wave of rocketing prices and shortages.

Hippo Valley Estates board chairperson Canaan Dube said the operation had to reroute cane to the Triangle milling plant.

But the firm was working round the clock to complete repairs before the upcoming milling season, the trading update said.

“In November 2022, one of the company’s two production lines suffered a breakdown that resulted in early closure of the affected production line for the balance of the season,” Dube said then.

“Repair work is in progress to ensure the line will be operational in the upcoming season. In order to crush the remaining cane, the milling season was extended to December 29, 2022 to accommodate the reduced production capacity. In addition, 27 001 tonnes of cane had to be diverted to the Triangle sugar mill for crushing.”

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