Globalisation and the EU Sugar Regime reform of 2006, with its accompanying 36% reduction in the price of sugar over four years, made the entire Mauritian sugar industry unsustainable. That entailed comprehensive but orderly restructuring and centralisation resulting in the industry’s transformation into a high-value-added sugarcane industry.
Omnicane was launched in July 2009 through a strategic rebranding of Mon Trésor & Mon Désert Limited (MTMD), a long-established sugarcane group in Mauritius whose origins can be traced back to the 1850s. MTMD was owned by various companies in time including Lonrho, Illovo Sugar Limited and the holding BBHM up until 2009. Omnicane Limited was among the first companies to be listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.
In order to understand the emergence of Omnicane, we have to understand the sugar industry’s centralisation process in its historical perspective culminating with the implementation of the Multi-Annual Adaptation Strategy (MAAS). The Sugar Sector Strategic Plan 2001–2005’s medium term objective was to reduce the amount of mills to seven or eight in 2005. To achieve this, the centralisation of cane transformation and the merger of sugar factories were inevitable.
The south of Mauritius was home in 2001 to no fewer than seven sugar factories all making raw sugar for export to the European Union. They were to be the last.
In 2003, Riche en Eau, Mon Trésor, Union St Aubin and Savannah consolidated the rationalisation of their milling operations in the south of Mauritius and established the Société Usinière du Sud Ltée (SUDS). The number of sugar mills operating in Mauritius therefore decreased from 17 in 1996 to 11. In 2008, the Company transferred its assets to SUDS and in 2009, the strategic rebranding of the Company led to the creation of Omnicane.
Since 2010, all the sugarcane harvested in the south of Mauritius is processed by just one sugar mill, that of Omnicane’s fully integrated flexi-factory at La Baraque.