Associated British Foods has made a recommended offer to shareholders of Illovo Sugar Ltd, Africa’s biggest sugar cane producer, to acquire a 51% stake in the company.

In a filing with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, ABF said that it had notified the Illovo board of directors of its firm intention to make an offer for a cash consideration of ZAR21 (US$3.28) per share.

ABF hopes that its involvement in Illovo will help the company offset some of the challenges brought by the new European sugar regime, a spokesperson for the company told just-food.

“If the acquisition is successfully completed, we intend to support Illovo’s growth plans bringing added financial clout and our experience in product development and marketing strategies,” the ABF representative said.

ABF’s acquisition of a majority stake in Illovo is subject to approval from regulatory authorities, shareholders and court sanction, the company said.