There is no end in sight to an agreement between Wilmar Sugar and QSL.
There is no end in sight to an agreement between Wilmar Sugar and QSL. Scottie Simmonds BUN111012SUG5

Wilmar and QSL continue to trade blows on sugar deal

FOR the second time since July Queensland Sugar Limited has rejected a deal offered by Wilmar Sugar that if accepted would have assured QSL as a potential marketer for GEI sugar for the 2017 season and beyond.   

On Friday afternoon Wilmar informed its growers about the offer which included further concessions since the last cane supply agreements were rejected.  

QSL were quick to issue a statement on their website which cited an unfair agreement and Wilmar's "efforts to remove growers' right to choose their own sugar marketer" as a reason for not taking the deal up.  

"Wilmar has also constantly reiterated throughout the negotiations that the positions it now claims are concessions are a 'package deal' that are only offered if other positions (which Wilmar has not made public) are agreed," the statement read.  

In the amended proposal Wilmar have agreed to sell GEI sugar and transfer title to QSL free in-store on a weekly basis based on payment in full at the ICE#11 price on the day prior to the date of invoice.  

Wilmar Executive General Manager of North Queensland, John Pratt, in an email to Wilmar growers said allowing QSL to control the storage and handling of the sugar that they own in the terminals  "will use best endeavours to provide sugar at QSL's minimum required polarisation and will accept financial penalties if it fails to do so on a nominated tonnage".

However, QSL Managing Director and CEO Greg Beashel accused Wilmar of "releasing selective information to growers in a piecemeal fashion" and said growers were still waiting for choice in marketing guaranteed by legislation passed at the end of last year.   

Manager of Canegrowers Proserpine Mike Porter expressed his frustration at the two parties' inability to come to an agreement and added the growers are the stakeholders losing out.   

"These parties are still talking about the fundamentals,  in other words, the basic part of the transaction. All these underlying issues are not for growers to be involved in," he said.   

Mr Porter said the "package" of terms cited by QSL as a sticking point and which Wilmar will not disclose will never be revealed due to confidentiality clauses in the agreement.   

"Wilmar says we are not allowed to know what the package is and we didn't even know it was a package and QSL are saying it is a package but we can't tell you what the package is.  

"It's very frustrating from a growers' point of view. All he wants to do is get on track and get on with some pricing but we are arguing about some underlying issues that we will never be party to."  

The latest concessions made by Wilmar include the movement and the granting of operational rights of free in store sugar by QSL, Mr Porter said he thought growers would be asking QSL "what is wrong with that agreement?"