Construction is set to start in early April on an $80 million, 1 million-tonne-a-year sugar refinery at Jandar, 30 kilometres south of Homs.

A company identified as the local Atassi Group has the main construction contract for the refinery. Work is due to be completed in 2007 with production expected to start in the fourth quarter of the year.

Feedstock for the refinery, in the form of raw cane sugar, will be shipped from Brazil. The refined sugar will be sold on the domestic and regional market, targeting Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

‘We are considering plans for further refineries and have held negotiations with [the UK’s] ED&F Man,’ says Najib Assaf, majority shareholder and chairman of National Sugar Company (NSC), the project company formed to manage the new refinery.

NSC is a subsidiary of Syrian Sugar Refinery Holding, whose minority stakeholders are Minneapolis-based Cargill, Dubai-based Wellington Marketing FZE, Brazil’s Crystalsev and London-based SugarInvest.

Denton Wilde Sapte is the legal adviser and London-based International Investment Trust is the financial adviser on the refinery project (MEED 4:10:02).