Minority shareholder Mitr Phol of Thailand has made a bid for ownership of Maryborough sugar mill.
Minority shareholder Mitr Phol of Thailand has made a bid for ownership of Maryborough sugar mill. Mat Nott

Farmers sweet with Thai bid

CANE farmer Alan Otto is Maryborough through and through - but even he was not upset at news that MSF Sugar may be bought out by a Thai company.

"I've been supplying the Maryborough mill for 20 years, I was born and bred here," Mr Otto said.

"But as long as the new company keeps investing in Maryborough, I don't have a problem."

Mitr Phol, one of the biggest sugar companies in the world, announced its intention to bid for complete ownership of MSF Sugar on Wednesday morning with a deal worth about $313 million.

Mr Otto said while in an ideal world the company would have remained 100% Australian-owned, it was unrealistic to expect that to last forever because most sugar companies have been bought out by major players from overseas.

"I hope they put some more money into the industry here," Mr Otto said.

"They have to keep the mill going."

The Thai company has until November 21 to conduct due diligence checks. If the buy-out is successful, it will mean all but one of Australia's major sugar companies will be run by overseas owners.

Australian-owned Mackay Sugar runs three mills, while the remaining eight independent mills in the country are considered small-scale operations.

Fraser Coast Regional Councillor Gerard O'Connell said if Mitr Phol's bid to buy MSF Sugar was successful, it would be vital for the Thai company to maintain the Maryborough workforce.

"Maryborough Sugar has been a major contributor to the local economy for generations, and we can only encourage the potential new owners to see the value in the Fraser Coast," Cr O'Connell said.

"It also has a strong hand in our future economy with the potential of the Mary Harbour development, which would be a real boost to the region."



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