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Agro Processing Success Stories

2009-09-03 13:54:00

Huletts Sugar - now Tongaat-Hulett, is a company that is unequivocally linked with the province of KwaZulu-Natal; representing the past and future of business in the area. After surviving many difficult years; including world depression, droughts, several wars and an era of political turmoil, Huletts continued to prosper. The company now produces a comprehensive range of sugar products in South Africa; including industrial, white, brown and speciality sugars. The Huletts brand currently owns a 48% share of the retail market and in 2002 was voted by an independent survey as the fifth most admired food brand in South Africa, measured in terms of awareness as well as trust and confidence. Agro Processing Success Stories Nineteen year-old James Liege Hulett had only £5 in his pocket when he stepped on the sandy shores of Durban in 1857, after a treacherous 114 day journey across the ocean from Dover. Although his hopes were high, even he couldn?t have imagined he would become the founder of a sugar empire, which still carries his name more than a 100 years later. Huletts Sugar - now Tongaat-Hulett, is a company that is unequivocally linked with the province of KwaZulu-Natal; representing the past and future of business in the area. After surviving many difficult years; including world depression, droughts, several wars and an era of political turmoil, Huletts continued to prosper. The company now produces a comprehensive range of sugar products in South Africa; including industrial, white, brown and speciality sugars. The Huletts brand currently owns a 48% share of the retail market and in 2002 was voted by an independent survey as the fifth most admired food brand in South Africa, measured in terms of awareness as well as trust and confidence. James Hulett was not only a pioneer of the South African sugar industry, but also a man who had a major influence on the political, educational, social and religious life of Natal and Zululand. In 1878 he pioneered the entirely new, and very profitable, tea industry in the province. He was also largely responsible for the extension of the Government railroad from Verulam to Stanger, as well as the railroad into Zululand. Following a dream of establishing a school for boys in Natal, the founding of Kearsney College was Sir Hulett?s last large public benefaction and a fitting memorial to a great man. Today, Tongaat-Hulett Sugar is a world leader in sugar milling technology. With more than a century of experience in the production of raw and refined sugar, it continues to focus its energies on cane growing, sugar milling and refining. Operating from head offices in the award-winning glass and aluminium building, built on the ridge overlooking La Lucia, the company continues to move forward into the future. A R22 million investment was recently approved for the upgrading of its central sugar refinery at Rossburgh, Durban - a facility which will be capable of packing 85 000 tons of sugar a year! In the spirit of James Hulett, the company continues to expand their involvement in the KwaZulu-Natal region. Tongaat-Hulett is currently pursuing an opportunity to generate environmentally sustainable energy from sugar cane. They also manage a successful molasses-based animal feed operation which makes a valuable contribution to the livestock farming community. The story of the Hulett Sugar Company, from the humble adventures of Sir James Hulett to its current conglomerate status on the top rung of the corporate ladder, says a great deal about the opportunities which exist in the province of KwaZulu- Natal. It demonstrates how rich natural resources, combined with a hearty entrepreneurial spirit make it possible to produce the sweet taste of success.

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