Beet Ireland launched its first public fundraise for €6m at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois last week.

The fundraise is the next step on the road to developing a new sugar and bioethanol industry for Ireland, it said. “2017 is now the target date for processing sugar beet following the finalisation of the EU CAP Agreement last July and this policy change has enabled the business planning for the project to continue within a clear timeframe.”

Beet Ireland has been working with Cantor Fitzgerald to plan the financing of this major strategic infrastructural project for Ireland, which it says will cost in the order of €400m. Funds will be raised in conjunction with the capital needs of the project.

“The first fundraise tranche of €3m will be used to finance the pre-development costs for the new state-of- the-art sugar and bioethanol production facility, including site investigation and planning, with a view to securing planning permission for the facility,” it said.

“The redevelopment of the Irish sugar industry will be a major economic stimulus for Ireland. Currently the cost of all sugar imports for Ireland is over €300m per annum. The Beet Ireland business model plans that growers will play a central role in the redevelopment of Ireland’s sugar industry. Beet Ireland is continuing to work with the Irish Government to deliver this major infrastructural project for Ireland.”

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.

Beet Ireland is a consortium of farmers and suppliers set on rejuvenating Ireland’s sugar industry.

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