The sugar producer Tereos announced on Wednesday the closure of a sugar refinery and a distillery, which could lead to the elimination of 149 jobs, as well as the sale of a potato starch plant, as part of a ” reorganization of its industrial activity in France”. Despite the rise in the price of sugar, Tereos (Béghin Say brand), the world’s second largest sugar group, explains its decision by “a lasting reduction” in sugar beet production in 2023-24 (about -10% of planted areas on one year) and lower yields, due in particular to the risk of jaundice, according to a press release.
A reclassification of employees favored by the group
Faced with these difficulties and “the challenges of decarbonization and modernization of its infrastructures”, Tereos decided to stop the sugar activity of its site of Escaudoeuvres in the North (123 positions concerned) and of its distillery of Morains in the Marne (26 posts). The management of Tereos France, which announced these closure plans on Wednesday to the representatives of the personnel concerned, affirms that it wants to favor a reclassification of its employees via “internal mobility”, by offering “different positions within the other sites” of the group in the region, said Christophe Lescroart, director of agricultural and industrial activities Europe, quoted in the press release.
In Escaudoeuvres, the sugar refinery will close, but 30 positions will be maintained at the site’s logistics center, which includes storage silos, it was specified. The group justified the closure of the sugar refinery by “a drop in the volumes of beets involved, which is mainly explained by agronomic reasons (crop rotation, drought, jaundice)”.
The Morains distillery, the only one not integrated into an industrial site
This decline in sown areas, by 10% on average in the beet region, is greater in the Escaudoeuvres sector, where the collection and production campaign, usually 110 days, is this year estimated at only 25 to 45 days. Beet production close to the Escaudoeuvres site will therefore be “worked on neighboring sites”, specifies the group.
The Morains distillery is the only one of the group’s six not to be integrated into an industrial site. The decision to close it is linked to a reduction in the volumes processed and to the “under-use” of the site for several years. In addition, Tereos has announced that it is seeking a buyer for its potato starch plant at its Haussimont site in Marne.