Wed., May 2, 2012 4:11pm (EDT)

European Giant Buys Imperial Sugar
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 2 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
The Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth is shown in this photo from the Savannah River.  (Photo Orlando Montoya)
The Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth is shown in this photo from the Savannah River. (Photo Orlando Montoya)
The Imperial Sugar refinery near Savannah is getting new owners.

A European agribusiness corporation is buying the plant that exploded in 2008, killing 14 workers.

The $78 million deal with Louis Dreyfus Commodities includes all of Imperial's operations, including the refinery in Port Wentworth.

Savannah lawyer Mark Tate represented families of several employees killed.

He says, liabilities from the blast left the company weakened.

"You got to wonder what's going to happen to it," Tate says. "I think Imperial's board was probably done. And I think they found somebody who was willing to undertake it."

A Dreyfus executive says, the company wants to diversify its sugar activities from cane crushing and sugar trade to refining.

An Imperial Sugar executive says, the deal delivers value for shareholders and provides financial stability.