June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Moso Sugar Co., Burundi’s only producer of the sweetener, will seek private investors to help fund a 44 million-euro ($63.6 million) expansion in return for a share of the company, Managing Director Audace Bukuru said.
The company, controlled by the government, plans to boost sugar-cane cultivation by funding irrigation and drainage programs in sugar-growing areas, Bukuru said in a phone interview yesterday from Bujumbura, the capital. The World Bank is financing a study to evaluate Moso Sugar’s assets and determine how many shares should be given to investors in return for the investment, though the state plans to retain control of the company, Bukuru said.
“We will open our doors to other investors who are willing to work with the government,” he said. The World Bank-financed study is expected to be completed by the end of this year, Bukuru said.
Moso Sugar, known as Sosumo, currently has ??3,000 hectares (7,413 acres) under cane. The expansion program is expected to enable the company to double plantings to 6,000 hectares and output to 40,000 tons. Burundi’s government owns 99% of Sosumo, while Ecobank Transnational Inc.’s Burundian unit and Brarudi SA, a Burundian brewer, each own 0.5 percent, according to Bukuru.
Sosumo’s current annual production of about 20,000 metric tons a year is less than the amount consumed by Burundians. In 2008, traders imported at least 8,000 tons of sugar to meet domestic demand, Bukuru said. The company will face competition next year when a second producer starts operating, he said, without providing further details.
--Editors: Paul Richardson, Alastair Reed.
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