RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi-based Savola Group is in talks to buy British sugar refiner and sweetener group Tate and Lyle Plc’s stakes in sugar refineries in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, a Savola executive said on Monday.
The talks are about Tate & Lyle’s 10 percent stake in a 1.2 million tonnes per year sugar refinery in Saudi Arabia and a 3 percent stake in a 750,000 tonnes per year sugar refinery in Egypt, according to the executive, who asked not to be named.
“We are in talks with Tate & Lyle and we hope to close a deal by mid-January,” he said.
“Tate & Lyle wants to sell because they are dis-engaging from sugar refining and focusing on sweeteners, ethanol and starches. We are interested because it suits our strategy of buying minority interests from willing partners in firms where we are the majority owners.”
The deal would end a business partnership between Savola — the Middle East’s biggest sugar refinery — and Tate & Lyle that has lasted 14 years.
“We don’t have anything to lose. We are grateful for the transfer of know-how that Tate & Lyle have brought with them,” he added.