Sat | Oct 21, 2017

Chinese make tough decision on Monymusk

Published:Monday | September 25, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Pan Caribbean Sugar Company (PCSC) has said that its decision to operate the Monymusk Sugar Factory for the 2017-2018 crop year was made to prevent a socio-economic crisis for communities along the sugar belt but that it is unsure how it will prevent further haemorrhaging at the Clarendon facility.

The Chinese firm's change of heart was announced by Agriculture Minister Karl Samuda during a press conference last week.

Liu Chaoyu, Pan Caribbean's chief executive officer (CEO), is on vacation leave, but spokesperson Sun Y' Dan revealed that further discussions would take place with the Government on her return to work.

"Our board of directors took into consideration the Government's concern over the potential disaster if operation is suspended at Monymusk," Sun told The Gleaner in a telephone interview recently. "Of course, China is trying to help, but while getting the quota to import refined sugar for the domestic market will mean an additional source of income, we are still going to have losses.

 

NOT A BUSINESS DECISION

 

"So this is not a business decision because we will continue to sustain losses even though it will not be as much as before."

The about-face comes weeks after the firm's CEO dismissed the possibility of any further investment in Monymusk, one of three sugar estates bought by PCSC for US$9 million in a divestment deal with the Government in 2009, after the Lionel Town-based factory contributed $5.5-billion of a whopping $7.3-billion impairment loss to its bottom line over a five- year period.

"We cannot run a factory with input so low, plus there is the fallout in sugar prices, continuous drought, illicit cane fires, and theft, all contributing to a total loss of US$60 million," Chaoyu told The Gleaner back then. "So in order to prevent the total collapse of Pan Caribbean and to protect the development or survival of Frome, we had to make the painful decision of suspending the operation at Monymusk."

Sun Y' Dan could not say what impact, if any, resuming the management of Monymusk would have on Frome. That, she said, would be clearer when her boss returned.