We are an integrated grower, processor, marketer and exporter of raw sugar. Based at Gordonvale just south of Cairns in Far North Queensland, our major milling assets are located in this region and the Fraser Coast region in South Eastern Queensland.
Our assets include four sugar mills, supporting infrastructure agricultural property and water rights to support our cane growing activities. The mills are located at Gordonvale, South Johnstone, Atherton Tablelands and Maryborough.
The property portfolio of predominantly cane land comprises almost 5,500 hectares in the Maryborough district and 8,000 hectares in Far North Queensland. We also own a 174 ha tract of former caneland known as Mary Harbour located in Maryborough and earmarked for a mixed urban development (subject to final planning approval).
We own water rights totalling approx 7,500 ML in the Lower Mary Irrigation Scheme and 16,350 in the Mareeba Dimbulah Sunwater Scheme.
We source sugar cane from our own property holdings and from approximately 630 independent growers, some of who lease land from us.
In addition we have a significant minority stake investment in Sugar Terminals Limited (STL), a bulk sugar port terminals operator. STL operates at the Queensland regional ports of Cairns, Mourilyan, Lucinda, Townsville, Mackay and Bundaberg. These terminals are able to store a total of two million tonnes of bulk raw sugar destined for the export trade.
We trace our history back to 1886 when the Maryborough Sugar Factory began operations as a juice mill. The Maryborough region was one of Australia's earliest sugar growing and processing areas.
We listed as a public company in 1956 and were known as The Maryborough Sugar Factory Limited from then to 2011.
Our name change in 2011 reflects the change in our operations and the geographic shifts that have occurred in our asset base and the sugar industry in general. Over recent years we have concentrated on expanding our assets in Far North Queensland. This has been done because of the favourable climate for cane growing, less competition for land from other primary produce and good infrastructure such as roads, rail and port facilities. As a result, we decided to relocate our head office to the Cairns region in June 2011.
Our focus on Far North Queensland gained impetus in 2010 when we formed the Northern Milling Joint Venture and subsequently acquired Bundaberg Sugar's 50 percent interest in this joint venture. This significant acquisition was completed in April 2011 and has increased the sugar producing capacity of the company considerably, making us the third largest producer of raw sugar in Australia.
During early 2012, the company was purchased through an off-market takeover offer by Mitr Phol Sugar Corp Ltd. Mitr Phol is one of the world's largest sugar producers and it is the largest sugar producer in Asia, currently crushing approximately 33 million tonnes of cane and producing approximately 3 million tonnes of sugar. More information on Mitr Phol can be located on their website at www.mitrphol.com.
As a result of this acquisition, MSF Sugar ceased to be an ASX listed entity and is now a fully owned subsidiary of Mitr Phol.
The company's future centers on being an efficient, reliable, high-quality supplier of sugar to international markets particularly the Asian region.
Supplying the global sugar industry is a challenging and volatile business. As a relatively small player on the international stage, we must focus on getting our products to market quickly and efficiently.
We are continuing to invest in assets, particularly in Far North Queensland, that will increase our capacity to supply global markets as the demand for sugar continues to increase.
MSF Sugar at a glance
- We own and operate four sugar mills with a total crushing capacity of 4.7 million tonnes of cane and producing around 550,000 tonnes of raw sugar per annum.
- We grow about 650,000 tonnes of cane in our own right.
- We have a 17.88 percent economic interest in Sugar Terminals Limited, a bulk sugar terminals operator at six regional Queensland ports.
- We employ nearly 650 people of who 380 are full-time.
- A total of 630 growers supply our mills. Our direct output into the regional Queensland economy is approximately $275 million per annum and most of this is generated in Far North Queensland.
The sugar cane industry commenced in the late nineteenth century and has been a key economic driver of the Queensland economy for most of this time. Historically, sugar cane has been grown from Mossman in Far North Queensland to Beenleigh south of Brisbane and, more recently, on the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns. Sugar cane is also grown in the northern coastal region of New South Wales. The Queensland cane harvesting season typically extends from early June to late November.
The Australian industry competes against major growing nations such as Brazil and Thailand.
Sugar milling also produces molasses which is sold as stockfeed and bagasse which is used as boiler fuel to produce steam and electricity.
In recent years the industry has taken significant initiatives to expand its production of ethanol which is considered a fuel of the future. The Australian industry is well placed to be a major domestic and export supplier of ethanol.