Centralisation and Factory closures
The policy concerning factory modernisation and centralisation within the Mauritian sugar industry is defined in a document issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in May 1997 entitled «Blueprint on the centralisation of sugar milling operations in Mauritius». This document sets out the framework for future sugar mill closures, with special consideration to the package to be offered to employees and planters.
The modernisation and rationalisation of sugar activities in Mauritius are essential processes in the enhancement of the competitiveness of the industry. Indeed, the increasing competition on international markets calls for the urgent restructuring of production operations.
Since the enactment of the Blue Print in 1997, six factory closures have taken place in the context of mill centralisation. These are –
- 1998 – Centralisation of Constance sugar mill on that of Beau Champ in the east of the island.
- 1999 – Centralisation of two other factories namely that of Bel Ombre (south) on Médine (West), Union St Aubin (south) and St Félix (south) and that of Beau Plan on Belle Vue in the North.
- 2001 – Centralisation of Rose Belle sugar mill (south) on that of Riche-en-Eau, Mon-Trésor, Britannia and Savannah which are all situated in the south.
- 2002 – Centralisation of Highlands sugar mill (centre) on that of Mon Désert Alma (centre)
- 2002 – Centralisation of Britannia sugar mill (south) on that of Mon Trésor, Riche en Eau, Savannah and Union Saint Aubin.
In 2003, there were eleven sugar mills operating in Mauritius, as compared to seventeen in 1996. The average crushing capacity is now expected to become higher, resulting in better mill efficiency and economies of scale at different levels of production.
In the medium term, as mentioned in the Sugar Sector Strategic Plan 2001-2005, the objective is to have seven or eight sugar mills operating in Mauritius by 2005. Hence, the centralisation and merger of sugar factories will be carried on in the next few years, namely the centralisation of Mon Loisir sugar mill (northeast) on that of FUEL (east), the two companies having merged in 2001. It is also worth mentioning the rationalisation of milling operations in the south of the island with the merger, in 2003, of Mon Trésor sugar mill with those of Riche en Eau, Savannah and Union Saint Aubin, all situated in the south, to form a milling company, the Société Usinière du Sud (SUDS).