Thursday, March 5, 2009

Imperial Sugar Updates Port Wentworth Rebuild Project

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Imperial Sugar Company (NASDAQ:IPSU) provided an update on the project to rebuild its Port Wentworth, Georgia refinery which was extensively damaged in an explosion and fire in February 2008. The Company reported that through February 28, 2009, it had spent approximately $44 million of the estimated $200 million to $220 million construction costs.

The Company’s property insurance policy provides coverage for construction replacement cost, as well as business interruption and certain payroll and other costs. Through February 28, 2009, the Company had received $125 million of advances under the property insurance policy, which are not identified with any specific coverage under the policy.

As previously announced, Imperial expects to begin producing granulated bulk sugar at the facility in the spring of 2009, and complete restoration of the packaging capabilities by the fall of 2009. Additionally, at February 28, 2009, the Company reported it had cash balances of $40 million and had available, undrawn revolving credit capacity of $50 million, after deducting $30 million of outstanding borrowings under that facility.

John Sheptor, Imperial’s President and CEO said, “We are pleased with the progress of the rebuild project. The foundation of the new silos was completed in February and substantial portions of the structural steel, walls, ceilings and floors for the packaging and administrative buildings have been erected. The new drying granulator for the refinery has been installed and other repairs to damaged areas are significantly advanced. All major equipment has been ordered and is being expedited by suppliers. Productive discussions with representatives of our insurance companies continue, and an additional $15 million of advances were received in February. Our customers continue to be very supportive and look forward, as we do, to the Port Wentworth refinery coming back on line.”

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