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Cullen Opens Chelsea Sugar’s Largest Investment

21 February 2003


Deputy PM Opens Chelsea Sugar’s Largest Investment Ever

Dr Michael Cullen opened a new decolourisation plant at New Zealand Sugar’s Chelsea Refinery today, representing the largest single investment ever made at the refinery.

Costing $7 million, the new plant replaces century old technology and will have immediate environmental and efficiency benefits. With its additional capacity the new plant will enable the Chelsea Refinery to take advantage of future domestic and export growth opportunities.

Chelsea Sugar currently refines and markets approximately 220,000 tonnes of sugar products per annum, from raw sugar imported from Queensland.

In the past five years the company’s export earnings have doubled and currently represent approximately 25% ($50 million) of the company’s revenue. The company’s main export markets include Japan, Asia and the Pacific, where approximately 35,000 tonnes of sugar and sugar blends are exported each year.

The new plant’s major environmental advantages include using half the natural gas and potable water which the original plant required and generating 60% less trade waste.

On opening the plant Dr Cullen said, “This new plant epitomizes three of the most positive developments amongst New Zealand businesses today. It shows that businesses are making long term investments in capacity that is increasingly export oriented. It shows that energy efficient technology makes good business sense. And it continues a long tradition – since 1884 – of association between a major company and a local community. Aligning the interests of business, the environment and the community is never easy or automatic; and New Zealand Sugar is to be commended for holding these various interests together and charting the way forward.”

John Burman, Group Chief Executive, New Zealand Sugar said, “The opening of this new plant represents an exciting step in Chelsea Sugar’s history, and is an expression of our confidence in our business future, both domestically and overseas.”

“As a key supplier to the New Zealand food & beverage industry our investment is a reflection of our continued commitment to business and our customers. As a competitive and high quality supplier we are committed to adopting world class environmental and efficiency processes which put us in a prime position to take advantage of future growth opportunities, and to support our customers’ growth.”


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