URC bullish on Phl sugar industry

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Universal Robina Corp.’s sugar and renewables subsidiary Sonedco marks another milestone as it celebrated its 30th anniversary with the inauguration of its new sugar mill in Kabankalan City, in Negros Occidental.

“Sonedco’s success stems not only from its investment in technology but primarily because of the partnerships that it has built over time,” said URC chairman Lance Gokongwei as he acknowledged the attendees of the inauguration, whom he cited as great believers in the sugar industry.

Sonedco’s capacity was increased to cover the growing volume of sugar canes that needed to be milled in Kabankalan and elsewhere in Negros Occidental. Its new mill, which can crush up to 6,000 metric tons of canes per day, will increase 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.

The 30-year journey

URC acquired Sonedco in 1988. Since then, major upgrades and machine installations were implemented in the factory. These aimed to enhance operational capacity of the plant and maintain its competitiveness with the neighboring mills.

Gokongwei emphasized URC’s stride toward capacity expansion and innovation, “Sonedco started with a 4,000 mill in 1988 then we continued to expand. In 2015, we put up the country’s first fully-functioning Biomass plant.”

Aside from the newly launched mill, Sonedco’s operations manager Rogelio Callueng Jr. said the company would continue to upgrade its plants.

URC continues to invest in the sugar industry with the goal to help it thrive and be able to support more Filipinos. Its chairman believes that with the right partnerships, an entrepreneurial outlook, and a winning spirit, the country’s sugar industry can achieve a sweet future.

URC currently 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.

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

Present during the milestone event were URC chairman Emeritus James Go, Sugar Regulatory Administration administrator Isidro Hermenigildo Serafica, SRA board member and Planters representative Dino Yulo, and SRA board member lawyer Roland Beltran, Kabankalan Mayor Isidro Zayco, Congresswoman Mercedes Alvarez, local government officials; suppliers, sugar cane planters, and members of federations and cooperatives.



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