Sugar imports shot up exponentially in the 11 months through May upon expectations of a lenient government policy on refined sugar exports and the zero-duty status granted to raw sugar imports.
Imports rose 87 percent to 15.77 lakh tonnes in July-May from the same period a year earlier, according to Bangladesh Bank that compiles data on letters of credit settlement.
Golam Mostafa, chairman of Deshbandhu Sugar, however, suggests that the total volume of sugar imports could be even higher than the LC data imply as payments are typically deferred by six months.
Mostafa attributes the spike in imports to the processing capacity of refineries, which were expanded in anticipation of relaxation of government restrictions on refined sugar exports.
While ASM Mohiuddin Monem, secretary general of Bangladesh Sugar Refiners Association, attributes the surge in imports to the zero-duty import facility bestowed upon sugar — both raw and refined — imports.
“All parties reaped advantage of the policy and imported sugar as much as possible,” said Monem, also the deputy managing director of Abdul Monem Group which runs AM Sugar Refinery Ltd.
For instance, the state-run Bangladesh Sugar Food Industries Corporation and Trading Corporation of Bangladesh imported more than 150,000 tonnes of refined sugar in fiscal 2011-12.
Mostafa expects the sugar imports to hit the 17-18 lakh tonne-mark for the 2012 calendar year, a significant rise from the 14.79 lakh tonnes recorded for 2011.
LINCANG, Yunnan – “I can’t expect any profit this year and I don’t know what to do next year,” said Li Xiuzhong, a 65-year-old sugarcane farmer in Lincang, Southwest China’s Yunnan province.
“We have 180 hectares of sugarcane last year and actually the beginning of the growing season was good due to sufficient rainfall,” he said. “But after June, things got worse so quickly and now there is no harvest in 30 hectares.”
His expectations have also dropped from five tons of crops for each hectare to three tons.
“These are already the best drought-resistant seeds and I have ploughed another 40 hectares for next year, hoping to earn more money,” he said. “But now, I have lost confidence in growing them under current weather conditions.”
He said he had grown sugarcane for more than 20 years and this year is the worst in terms of weather.
He is living on income from previous years.
Lincang used to be covered with thick forests and has rich water resources, but since the 2010 drought, its water conservation facilities have been under threat and agricultural production has been challenged.
Lincang’s sugar and tea industries are two pillars of its economy. Sixty percent of sugarcane crops were affected by the weather in 2010 and there was a conspicuous reduction of total production.
Ganhua Company is a major sugar factory in Yunxian county, and is experiencing a hard time with this year’s harvest.
According to Wei Xuehua, general director of the company, the scarcity of water has handed the company, as well as sugarcane farmers and delivery drivers, a total loss of 19 million yuan ($3 million) so far.
In addition, rats have also severely affected the production of sugarcane in the region as water can only be found in the plants.
Alexander & Baldwin Inc.’s agricultural sector – led by Maui’s Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. – produced a “strong performance” in 2011 while losses related to Matson Navigation Co. and the real estate sales division put a drag on company profits.
In reporting its 2011 and fourth-quarter financial results Monday, the Honolulu-based company said it logged a net income of $34.2 million, or 81 cents a share, for the year, down 63 percent from the $92.1 million, or $2.22 a share, in 2010 and down nearly 75 percent from the $132 million, or $3.19 a share, in 2008, as the Great Recession began roiling the national economy.
For the fourth quarter, A&B’s net income was only $1.6 million, or 4 cents a share, down from $20.2 million, or 48 cents a share, in the same quarter the previous year.
The company’s ocean transportation sector showed an operating profit of $74.1 million for the year, down from $118.7 million in 2010. This sector of the company suffered losses from the discontinuing of its second China-Long Beach service in the third quarter.
In addition, A&B said that the company continues to make progress on plans to separate its shipping and real estate/agricultural businesses in the second half of this year.
The agricultural sector, which includes HC&S and trucking and storage companies on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, showed an operating profit of $22.2 million in 2011, up 264 percent from $6.1 million in 2010. This is a big contrast from three years ago, when agriculture lost $27 million and the board of directors debated shutting down sugar operations.
Funny how things work out. Our new mayor wants to take over plantation water systems (although when he had a chance four years ago, he backed down).
A couple of years ago, a combination of drought and low prices had HC&S on the ropes, and the board at A&B was beginning to wonder whether sugar was a business they wanted to be in. At best, it accounts for only about 7% of revenue. HC&S is such a small part of A&B that it cannot ever contribute largely to profits, although it can — and recently has — hammered them down.
Since A&B answers to Wall Street, which does not give a damn about Upcountry water meters, low sugar prices open the way to a county takeover of EMI. This would be a disaster, but, like I say, funny how things work out.
Arakawa’s in, sugar prices are up, A&B will presumably stick with HC&S for a while longer, the valley will be green and Kihei will not have to live through endless dust storms.
HONOLULU, Feb 03, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (NYSE:ALEX) today reported that net income for the full year 2009 was $44.2 million, or $1.08 per diluted share. Net income for the full year 2008 was $132.4 million, or $3.19 per diluted share. Revenue for the full year 2009 was $1,404.8 million, compared to revenue of $1,879.8 million for the full year 2008.
Net income for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $20.1 million, or $0.49 per diluted share. Net income in the fourth quarter of 2008 was $23.9 million, or $0.58 per diluted share. Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $365.0 million, compared to revenue of $395.4 million in the same period of 2008.
PUUNENE – Sugar prices are through the roof this year, but that will be of little help to Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., which will have its sugar output reduced by drought to an estimated 125,000 to 130,000 tons this year.
But even if HC&S had more to sell, it still wouldn’t benefit, because it sold its production on forward contracts at what now seem like low prices.
The Alexander & Baldwin subsidiary does not participate in the government loan price support program, which is irrelevant this year, since world and American prices are far higher than the 18 cents per pound support rate.
HC&S will soon complete its harvest and shut down the mill, but for much longer than the usual one or two months.