February 19, 2019 / 1:00 PM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Suedzucker to close Polish sugar plant in restructuring

(Adds detail from paragraph two)

HAMBURG, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Europe’s largest sugar refiner Suedzucker plans to close a 50,000 tonne-a-year production plant in Poland, it said on Tuesday, part of a restructuring programme to counter a slump in sugar prices.

The company also recently announced it will close sugar factories in Germany and France, but said on Tuesday the latest closure means it will have achieved its output reduction target.

Suedzucker said in January it planned to cut production capacity by around 700,000 tonnes per year as part of a plan to save about 100 million euros ($112.8 million) annually.

The latest plant to be closed is in Strzyzow in south-east Poland, a Suedzucker spokesman told Reuters. The facility has about 70 employees and will close this year.

“With this closure we will have reached our target of 700,000 tonnes,” he said.

On Feb. 14, Suedzucker unit Saint Louis Sucre announced the closure of two French plants with a combined capacity of around 450,000 tonnes.

That came two weeks after it said it would close two plants in Germany which together produce around 200,000 tonnes of sugar a year.

Raw sugar futures ended 2018 at their lowest in 10 years, pressured by heavy global oversupply.

The European Union liberalised its sugar market in September 2017, ending its system of guaranteed minimum prices and protected production quotas.

That gave European producers more freedom to expand and export, but left them exposed to collapsing world prices.

$1 = 0.8864 euros Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by David Goodman and Jan Harvey

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