French sugar processor Tereos is to construct two processing plants in China, its first in the country.

The investment will form part of the sugar and starch producer's joint venture with Singapore-based Wilmar International for the development of food ingredients in China and Southeast Asia, approved earlier this year.

A plant producing wheat starch with an annual capacity of 500,000 tonnes will be built in Dongguan near Canton, while the company is also studying the construction of a plant of similar capacity in the north of the country, specialising in high fructose corn syrup.

Tereos' chairman Philippe Duval said starch production in China increases by 10-15% annually compared to an annual decline of around 2% in Europe.

He added that China's food industry has "enormous" requirements for this ingredient. "But we must move now on this as investment costs increase very rapidly in this part of the world."

Separately, Alexis Duval has taken up the position as CEO of Tereos, effective 1 October. He succeeds his father, Philipe Duval who had been at the helm since 1984.