The cane harvest will begin next month in Maryborough.
The cane harvest will begin next month in Maryborough.

CHINESE WHISPERS: Truth about sugar land sales

UPDATE: Rumours have been circulating for weeks regarding the sale of Maryborough's cane landholdings by MSF Sugar, with speculation a Chinese buyer was interested in the properties.

The Chronicle has seen a letter, being circulated in the community, saying a Chinese buyer was interested.

However yesterday company secretary Brad Egerton said the 5367 hectares of canefarming land had not yet been sold, but a transaction process had been started between Mitr Pohl and an interested Australian investor.

Mr Egerton said the process was expected to continue over the next few weeks.

At no time was an interested Chinese buyer mentioned.

Mr Egerton said the board had decided at a meeting held this month to proceed with a "divestment transaction".

EARLIER: MSF Sugar's parent company Mitr Pohl is in negotiations to sell its land holdings in the Maryborough region as it "shifts its focus away from farming".

Company secretary Brad Egerton said the 5367 hectares of canefarming land had not yet been sold, but a transaction process had been started between Mitr Pohl and an interested Australian investor.

He said the board had decided at a meeting held this month to proceed with a "divestment transaction".

Mr Egerton said the deal, if it went ahead, would not include the Maryborough Sugar Mill or the land it stood on.

He said the terms of the sale and the identity of the interested company were confidential at this time.

The impact of COVID-19 had played no part in the decision to sell the land," Mr Egerton said.

"It is consistent with the divestment in the tablelands," he said.

"The company's focus has shifted away from farming."

Mr Egerton said in recent times, MSF Sugar had offloaded some of its farming landholdings in order to focus on its milling operations and to develop the relationship with growers.

He said those divestments had been made in the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland's north.

Mr Egerton confirmed the mill would continue operating through the 2020 crushing season.

"The 2020 crushing season is almost upon us and is on track to commence in late July," he said.

"The immediate priority will be the 2020 crushing season for MSF's four mills, including Maryborough."

In April, Canegrowers Maryborough manager Cameron Waterson said while it was too early to say definitively, growers believed the crush would be similar to last year which weighed in at 592,000 tonnes.

Rumours first began last month regarding the potential sale of land in Maryborough.

At the time the company would not speculate as to whether the farms would be sold.



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