While sugar and related products manufacturer Illovo Sugar South Africa (Illovo SA) reports no impact on production as a result of measures implemented to contain the spread of Covid-19, it also reaffirms its commitment to refocus the business towards meeting the growing demand for alcohol used in the manufacture of alcohol-based hand sanitiser products.
There is concern about reported shortages of ethanol in the country by various local market players producing products such as hand sanitisers, which are critical to support efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Illovo SA, which produces high-grade ethyl alcohol (ethanol) at its Merebank Downstream Factory south of Durban, confirms, however, that there has been no impact from Covid-19 on its local production of ethanol.
The company adds that the Ethanol Producers Association of Southern Africa (which includes producing members within South Africa, Eswatini and other African countries) also confirms that the same position applies for the industry as a whole.
Illovo SA produces in excess of 50-million litres of ethanol a year, serving both local and export markets.
Illovo SA MD Mamongae Mahlare says that, while Illovo SA continues production at current levels, and against the background of its stated commitment to help contain the spread of Covid-19, the company will refocus its business plans to quickly respond to sanitiser-producing companies who are calling for increasing volumes of ethanol for use within their products.
“This includes working with existing customers to redirect already committed volumes.”
The company’s supply position has been further augmented following the published amendments to the Customs and Excise Act by the South African Revenue Service late last week, allowing for the use of undenatured ethanol, by registered manufacturers, for the production of disinfectant.
“At this time of critical need, we urge all participants in this supply chain to price responsibly and in line with the requirement of scheduled products within the Disaster Management Act,” she says.
Illovo SA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Illovo Sugar Africa group, and is involved in the cultivation of sugar cane and production of raw and refined sugar, syrup together with the downstream products of furfural, furfuryl alcohol, ethanol and lactulose.