Sugar group Tereos has agreed to sell a factory site in northern France to fries maker Agristo following its announcement in March that it would end sugar production there, France's industry ministry said.
Belgian firm Agristo plans to invest around €350 million ($378.4 million) to develop a new factory for potato-based products to replace the existing sugar processing facility, a ministry official told reporters.
The sale price for the site was not disclosed, the official said.
Sugar Beet Supply
Tereos said its decision to end production at Escaudoeuvres, which will affect 123 jobs, was due to a drop in sugar beet supply from local farmers.
Soaring sugar prices helped Tereos, one of the world's largest sugar makers by volume due to large activities in Brazil, to post a record profit in 2022/23 but high debts prompted the group to sell assets worldwide.
The company attributed the results to market momentum and an increase in prices across all its segments – sugar, alcohol, ethanol, sweeteners and electricity – strict cost control and well executed hedging strategies.
The firm will maintain a logistics operation next to the sugar factory site being sold.
Agristo, which could create about 350 jobs at the French factory, aims to benefit from nearby potato production in northern France and logistical access to southern Europe, the industry ministry added.