Associated British Foods, the UK-based food group, has refused to be drawn on speculation that it is looking to make a move for the sugar business of Spain's Ebro Puleva.

Ebro is mulling whether to sell its sugar unit and ABF, the owner of British Sugar, and Germany's Nordzucker and Sudzucker have been touted as possible buyers. 

"We've got a strategy of building our sugar business up… We are interested in anything that will add value to the business," a spokesperson for ABF told just-food today (3 September).

However, the company declined to confirm whether or not it was preparing a bid for Ebro's sugar business.

The European sugar industry has entered a period of consolidation following EU reform of the sector in 2006, with weaker players exiting the market and more efficient companies looking to expand.

In July, Danisco, the Denmark-based ingredients group, sold its sugar business to Nordzucker for DKK5.6bn (US$1.1bn).