Efforts to optimise operations ‘sweet’

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Workers at the FSC Mill in Lautoka. Picture: FT FILE

Over the past 20 years, the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) has only encountered a handful of years when it recorded net profits, says chairman Pradeep Lal.

Mr Lal said these were about four or five years.

“It is worth noting that among these profitable years, three were marked by the reversal of impairments and in one instance, a government grant of $50 million played a pivotal role,” said Mr Lal.

“Of the past 25 years, genuine profit was realised in just two years.

“Even during the peak production year when FSC harvested approximately 4 million tonnes of cane, the average profit margin stood at a modest $4m, despite the preferential price obtained from the European Union.

“The corporation’s financial success is underlined by its impressive positive Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortisation of $17.9m for financial year 2023, is a turnaround from the negative $6.7m recorded in the preceding year, an improvement of $24.6m.

“FSC further envisages a record positive amortisation of $31.6m for the coming financial year with a crop of only 1.66 million.”

Mr Lal said their efforts to optimise operations had also borne fruits.

“Today, through a concerted commitment to efficiency and cost-effectiveness, the operating cost has been prudently reduced to an average of about $59m from over $90m in 2016, highlighting a substantial 34 per cent reduction in operating costs.

“Together with these cost-effective measures, the corporation has substantially lowered the breakeven point to a crop of 1.6m metric tonnes, an improvement from the previous benchmark of 2.4m metric tonnes.

“These achievements underline FSC’s dedication to embracing best practices and operating efficiently.”

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