Illovo’s leading position in African sugar production is driven by our ongoing investment in the continent’s growth story. As significant suppliers of sugar in our countries of operation and major exporters to regional markets, Illovo is strategically positioning its operations to respond to Africa’s increasing sugar consumption growth, forecast to grow by six million tons by 2020.
Illovo is a major supplier of sugar to African consumer and industrial markets, particularly in its own countries of operation, and has significant access to preferential markets in the EU and the USA. Operations outside South Africa also have access to the South African Customs Union market in terms of the Southern African Development Community Sugar Protocol on Trade, while pre-packed and bagged sugar is supplied into other regional markets within Africa. The group, through the South African sugar industry exports sugar into the world free market. Syrup and speciality sugars are produced in South Africa and Zambia mainly for domestic consumption, while speciality sugars made in Malawi and Zambia are produced for preferential markets in the EU and in the case of Malawi also in the USA.
The majority of downstream production is sold internationally into high-value, niche markets. Furfural and its derivatives are produced in South Africa at the Sezela mill complex on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal while high quality ethyl alcohol, from which various grades of alcohol are made, is produced at the Merebank plant in Durban and at the Glendale distillery on the north coast. Lactulose is also produced at Merebank. A new potable alcohol distillery at our Kilombero plant in Tanzania was commissioned in 2013, utilising both molasses and energy supplies produced by the two factories to make around 12 million litres of potable alcohol annually.