UK-based food group Associated British Foods (ABF) has entered into a joint venture with Hebei Tian Lu Sugar Group, a sugar producer based in northeastern China.

The new venture, which will trade as Bo Tian, is still to gain Government approval but clearance is expected by the end of September. 

ABF said Tian Lu will contribute its existing beet sugar business to the joint venture and ABF will contribute some GBP70m (US$140m) to fund plans for future development and expansion. ABF will hold 51% of the joint venture, while Tian Lu will control the remaining 49%.

“This acquisition represents another exciting development for us in China,” said ABF’s chief executive officer George Weston. “Our experience in operating cane sugar factories in southern China, combined with our skills as the lowest cost beet sugar producer in Europe will enable us to introduce improvements quickly and efficiently to China’s beet sugar industry.”

Tian Lu operates four beet sugar factories in Wangkui and Yi’an in Heilongjiang province, Zhangbei in Hebei province and Qianqi in Inner Mongolia.

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By GlobalData