$2.5m loan paid back after cogeneration sold to Swiss

Condong Sugar Mill Photo Mikarla Marsden / Tweed Daily
Condong Sugar Mill Photo Mikarla Marsden / Tweed Daily Mikarla Marsden

TWEED Shire Council's $2.5 million loan to the troubled Condong cogeneration plant has been repaid 15 years early.

It's a relief for the council as there had been fears the money would have to be written-off after the Condong and Broadwater bioenergy plants went into receivership in 2011.

The $220 million venture was recently sold by the NSW Sugar Milling Cooperative to Swiss-based investment company Capital Dynamics for an undisclosed sum.

Council's acting general manager Troy Green said when the venture went into receivership the council could have exercised its parent guarantee and called in the 20-year loan immediately.

But Mr Green said that might have scuttled the project.

"We decided to wait and hope for someone with the skills and expertise to sustain the industry and that's what happened," he said.

The money was repaid to the council last week.

The council's loan financed the construction of the Condong tertiary treatment plant, pump station and pipe work.

Cr Warren Polglase told the Tweed Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday: "Troy Green fought tooth and nail to get our money back in the kitty."

Depending on fuel supply, Capital Dynamics plans to run the Condong and Broadwater bioenergy plants during the sugar cane off-season, targeting peak pricing periods. Co-operative CEO Chris Connors said no jobs would be lost in the sale.

NSW Canegrowers Association's chairman Wayne Rogers said the sale gave certainty for growers and the industry's future. The co-op cited depressed green energy prices as a major reason for the plant's failure.

Topics:  condong sugar mill