Production To Restart At Imperial Sugar Refinery

SUGAR LAND, Texas (AP) -- The Imperial Sugar Co. said Friday its Port Wentworth, Ga. facility -- damaged by a February 2008 explosion that killed 14 people -- should begin producing granulated bulk sugar later this month.

Imperial Sugar hopes to have the plant's packaging capabilities completely restored by the fall.

Through May 31, the company spent $85 million of its estimated $200 million to $220 million in construction costs.

It received $16 million of advances under its property-insurance policy in May 2009 and additional advances of $18 million so far in June.

Advances total $194 million to date and are not identified with any specific coverage under the policy.

Also, as of May 31, Imperial Sugar had cash balances of $86 million and available, undrawn revolving-credit capacity of $33 million, after deducting $60 million of outstanding borrowings under that facility.

In November 2008, the Sugar Land, Texas, company broke ground on a 75,000-square-foot packaging plant to replace the one destroyed by the blast, which investigators determined was caused by dust igniting like gunpowder.

Shares rose 50 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $12.57 during morning trading. The stock has traded between $5.10 and $16.74 during the past 52 weeks.

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