Imperial updates Port Wentworth rebuild project

by Eric Schroeder
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SUGAR LAND, TEXAS — Imperial Sugar Co. said it has spent approximately $44 million of the estimated $200 million to $220 million in construction costs related to the rebuild of its Port Wentworth, Ga., refinery damaged in an explosion and fire in February 2008.

Imperial said its property insurance policy provides coverage for construction replacement cost, as well as business interruption and certain payroll and other costs. Through Feb. 28, the company said it had received $125 million of advances under the property insurance policy, which are not identified with any specific coverage under the policy.

Imperial earlier said it expects to begin producing granulated bulk sugar at the facility this spring, and complete restoration of the packaging capabilities by this fall.

"We are pleased with the progress of the rebuild project," said John Sheptor, president and chief executive officer. "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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