Growers might vote in favour of foreign investment due to the $2 a tonne levy repayment plan.
Growers might vote in favour of foreign investment due to the $2 a tonne levy repayment plan. Lee Constable

Levy repayment could sweeten Mackay Sugar deal

MACKAY Sugar shareholders could be swayed to vote in favour of foreign recapitalisation because of one promise that hinges on the Nordzucker deal going ahead.

A statement released by Mackay Sugar on Tuesday night outlined a two-stage repayment of the $2 per tonne levy, which a majority of growers have been paying since 2017.

The controversial levy, which was expected to generate more than $20 million over a two-year period, was introduced to bankroll essential maintenance at the company's three mills.

Growers stand to recoup varying amounts, according to the size of their crop. Based on a 10,000 tonne a year crop, a total levy of $20,000 a year, or $40,000, would have been paid over two years.

North Eton grower Michael Vella said if this deal were to come to fruition, the levy money would be returned to farmers sooner.

"Within due course once the mills were up and running at a reasonable level and the time was right the money [was] to come back," he said.

Mr Vella said considering the current situation at Mackay Sugar, the repayment of the levy was not expected in the short term.

Because of this, he said the proposal of the two-stage repayment was an attractive offer for growers.

"I would think the [repayment] sweetens the deal," Mr Vella said. "It definitely will make a big difference but it depends on your own operation and your own situation... no matter, everyone will be glad to see that money returned."

The Daily Mercury contacted a number of Mackay Sugar growers for comment, however, the majority opted not to have a say.