Wilmar International is heading up a consortium of investors to acquire a controlling stake in Moroccan sugar group Consumar.

In a regulatory filing, Wilmar said it has entered into an agreement to purchase a 27.5% equity stake in Cosumar from Societe Nationale d’Investissement SNI for MAD2.3bn (US$263m). SNI will sell a further 26.5% stake in the company to a consortium of Moroccan institutional investors who, together with the agribusiness giant, will form a controlling voting block in the business.

Wilmar said Consumar is the “sole” sugar supplier in Morocco and one of the largest players in the African sugar market. The Singapore-based commodities group said it would leverage its production capacity to address a “structural deficit” for sugar in Morocco, southern Europe and northern and western Africa.

“Consumar is a stable platform for Wilmar to expand its sugar operations in Africa,” the company said.

Wilmar has rapidly expanded its sugar refining business since 2010 and today the group operates refineries in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.

“Our investment in Cosumar gives us a significant presence in the Western hemisphere and is part of our overall strategy to develop a world-class sugar business,” Kuok Khoon Hong, chairman and CEO of Wilmar, said.