The sugar industry is watching closely what the outcome of the Sucrogen vote today will be on the sale of the Proserpine Sugar Mill in north Queensland.

Singapore-owned Sucrogen has offered $115 million for the co-operative and says that, if it's a no vote, it will walk away, allowing Chinese-owned Tully Sugar to step in with its $120 million offer.

There's a feeling among the industry that whichever foreign company loses the bid, Wilmar International or COFCO, will soon target another Australian sugar company, with Mackay Sugar and Maryborough mentioned by insiders as strong possibilities.

Mackay Sugar's chief executive officer Quinton Hildebrand says the company hasn't received any takeover offers yet, but, in the current environment of consolidation in the sugar industry, it wouldn't be unexpected.

"We're just going to carry on doing what's right for our shareholders. You can't live your life anticipating third party's movements," he said.

"You've just got to do the right thing for your business and put your ears back and go for that.

"What other parties do you've got no influence over so don't worry about that just be prepared."

In the last few months, Mackay Sugar had discussed the possibility of a merger with Proserpine members and still believes that outcome would be in the best interest of growers.

Mr Hildebrand says that one of Mackay Sugar's objectives is to consolidate with other milling companies in Queensland or the sugar milling co-operative in northern NSW.

"Our entity is grower controlled and we're going to conduct a survey to assess the interest of our shareholders but at this stage we wouldn't restrict any future mergers to any particular type of ownership or any company," he said.
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"I think whatever made commercial sense and was in the interest of our shareholders we would pursue."

source: abc.net

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