Zambia Sugar Plc says the raising of the entire US$90 million to finance its expanded refinery plant within Zambia underlines the country’s continuing growth potential.

And Stanbic Bank head of corporate and investment banking Helen Lubamba says Zambia Sugar should be commended for its strong commitment and focus on expansion programmes over the years that have created economic benefits in the country and regionally.

Speaking after President Lungu commissioned the product alignment and refinery project on Wednesday, Illovo Group managing director Gavin Dalgleish said the company through its subsidiary (Zambia Sugar),  has confidence in the Zambian economy as demonstrated through the incorporation of local commercial banks to raise funds.

“The US$60 million syndicated financing agreement for the refinery project was sourced locally with Stanbic Bank and Barclays Bank appointed as lead arrangers, while Citibank and Zanaco were incorporated as financing partners.

“The total cost of the project amounted to US$90 million and the balance of funding was sourced from Zambia Sugar’s own available cash resources. These local banking institutions enabled us to finance the project completely within Zambia’s borders, thereby underlining the country’s continuing growth potential,” he said.

And Ms Lubamba said the successful completion of a modern refinery that will increase the annual refined sugar production capacity to around 90,000 tonnes and increase annual sugar production capacity from 420,000 to an expected new capacity of 450,000 tonnes is a positive development.

“Zambia Sugar has remained committed to their strategy of expanding their operations which has firmly consolidated them as Africa’s single biggest cane sugar producer not only in Zambia, but in the region.

“We can see the value addition of Zambia Sugar’s expansion programmes to our economy through creation of employment opportunities during construction, as well as raising demand to the cane out-growers for supply of cane and the entire agriculture value chain,” said Ms Lubamba

Stanbic supports and prioritises agriculture as a critical sector to the growth of Zambia’s economy.

“We have the capacity to finance the out-growers’ long term investment in equipment and machinery to enable them meet the demand of cane by Zambia Sugar,” she said.