BEET Ireland, a consortium of farmers and suppliers set on rejuvenating Ireland's sugar industry, is expected to reveal its plans for a new €350 million facility this Thursday.
It was announced at the weekend that investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald has been brought on board to help service the financial backing for the plans, which are due to be revealed on Thursday evening at a meeting in Kilkenny, and again in Glanmire the following Wednesday.
Proposals to rejuvenate the Irish sugar industry here have been underway for approximately three years, led by Country Crest MD Michael Hoey, who has worked with a number of farming representatives and TDs in order to gain traction for the plans.
The facility is most likely to be situated in Ireland's Southeast, following a feasibility study carried out by PM Group in the region in 2011, which was majority financed by Country Crest. The proposed facility will produce both sugar and bioethanol.
Ireland ceased sugar production in 2006 with the closure of the Mallow plant operated by Greencore, as Ireland's sugar quotas were removed. Significant lobbying is understood to have taken place at EU level to have Ireland's quotas reinstated, and restrictions on sugar beet production are due to end in 2015.
Ireland imports approximately €230 million worth of sugar a year. German firm Nordzucker acquired the rights to Ireland's biggest sugar brand, Siucra, in 2009.