URC opens new sugar mill to expand Negros Occidental output

Universal Robina Corporation's (URC) sugar and renewables subsidiary SONEDCO inaugurated a new sugar mill in Kabankalan City, in Negros Occidental, to mark its 30th anniversary.

The new mill can crush up to 6,000 metric tons of canes per day, increasing SONEDCO’s total milling capacity to 14,000 tons of canes per day, and total URC’s to 40,000 tons of canes per day.

This expansion project began in April 2017. Full commercial operations are set to start during the 2019-2020 crop year.

“The inauguration of the new mill marks the high point of our 30 years in the sugar business. It fulfills our commitment to serve sugar cane farmers with a mill that renders better sugar recovery from their canes and utilizes lower energy cost, so that the consumers will be provided with good-quality sugar at fair and reasonable prices,” said Renato Cabati, vice president and business unit general manager of URC’s Sugar and Renewables Group

URC decided to expand SONDECO’s capacity to cover the growing volume of sugar canes that needed to be milled in Kabankalan and elsewhere in Negros Occidental.

SONEDCO produces refined sugar used by URC’s branded consumer foods division for its Great Taste coffee, C2, biscuits, candies and other sweetened products. It also supplies bottler’s grade refined sugar to other beverage companies.

The new mill was designed and supplied by Sutech Engineering of Thailand.

The latest technology in planetary gears and electric motors that drive the mill were supplied by Japan’s Sumitomo Drive Technologies.

URC operates six sugar mills and refineries across the country with a combined output of 40,000 tons of sugar cane and 32,000 bags of refined sugar per day.

SONEDCO also has a biomass-fired cogeneration plant with a capacity of 46 megawatts exporting power to the national grid using bagasse, a byproduct of sugar milling, as fuel.

URC acquired SONEDCO in 1988. SONEDCO currently has over 500 employees.

URC is the country’s top producer of raw sugar, with a total output of 417,000 metric tons accounting for 17 percent of total domestic production.

It is the third-largest supplier of refined sugar, with actual production of 2.9 million bags