Asia's Wilmar says sole receiver of ICE March sugar

SINGAPORE, March 1 Fri Mar 1, 2013 3:23am EST

SINGAPORE, March 1 (Reuters) - Singapore's Wilmar International Ltd is the sole receiver of the ICE futures U.S. March raw sugar contract, taking advantage of declines in global prices, a senior company official told Reuters.

It will be the first time Wilmar takes delivery of sugar since foraying into the sweetener market three years ago, trade sources say. The actual amount delivered, as well as delivering and receiving parties, will be reported by the exchange on Friday.

"I can confirm to you we were the sole receiver and we effectively decided to receive (sugar) as the price went too low recently," said Jean-Luc Bohbot, managing director of Wilmar Sugar Pte Ltd.

He gave no further details but trade sources said the company was the receiver of an estimated 3,007 lots, or roughly 152,762 tonnes -- a move that is more common for trading giants such as Cargill or Louis Dreyfus.

New York March futures plunged to a 2-1/2 year low on Thursday before rebounding sharply, and the sugar market was under pressure from a third consecutive global surplus. Prices have dropped around 6 percent so far this year.

Wilmar, the world's largest listed palm oil company, has rapidly expanded its sugar operations in recent years.

Sugar made up almost a fifth of Wilmar's fourth-quarter 2012 pre-tax profits, according to its Feb. 22 results statement. Its group quarterly pre-tax profit was $548.2 million.

Deliveries are closely watched in the world sugar market as an indicator of demand and possible trade flows, with dealers noting deliverers of this contract being Noble, Sucden, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus.

While the delivery is slightly smaller than the expected 200,000 tonnes, traders were surprised that Wilmar was believed to be the sole receiver. (Reporting by Lewa Pardomuan and Marcy Nicholson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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