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History

Our roots cover almost 200 years of experience and growth

As one of the world’s leading sugar producers, we can look back on a dynamic history of growth, technological advancement and corporate change. It is a history of dedicated farmers and outstanding feats of engineering.

In 1747, Andreas Sigismund Marggraf discovered sugar in beet. Farmers, scientists and engineers continued to breed the plants and developed processes for sugar production. Sugar beet cultivation and sugar extraction in Europe transformed sugar from a luxury product into food available to all sections of the population.

The history of Nordzucker is closely linked to the growing demand for sugar and industrial development in the 19th century. Countless sugar factories were established and constructed by farmers in Nordzucker’s cultivation area, mostly as stock companies. The majority of the company’s owners today are their descendants. Our history has been marked by numerous mergers and closures of factories. 

Wave of new factories in the 19th century

1838 is the year in which the first beet sugar factory was established in our catchment area in Klein Wanzleben. It was followed by many more factories, such as those today in Nordstemmen (1865), Clauen (1869), Schladen (1870) and Uelzen (1883). In Denmark factories began operating in Nakskov (1882) and Nykøbing (1884), while in Sweden there are factories in Arlöv (1869) and Örtofta (1890). Chełmža opened in 1881 and Opalenica in 1883 in Poland, Kèdainiai (1970) in Lithuania, and Säkylä (1953) and Porkkala (1965) in Finland, while Trenčianska Teplá began the new century with a sugar production in 1900.

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Decades of consolidation

The steady improvement of transport logistics along with the continuous modernization of factories and the growth of their processing capacities favoured the competitive need to concentrate operations at a small number of locations. This process lasted for more than a century into the new millennium.

Nordzucker expands beyond Germany’s borders

Investments in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, followed by the acquisition of Nordic Sugar in 2009 with sugar factories in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Lithuania, transformed Nordzucker into a major European sugar company with regional roots. 

In 2017, regulation of the EU sugar market with price and volume quotas came to an end. Since then, the volatile world market price has had a stronger impact on sugar prices in the EU, with overcapacities emerging. Distortion of competition in other countries is hindering market consolidation.

Initial expansion into cane sugar production: Nordzucker moves to Australia

In 2019, Nordzucker acquired a majority stake in Australia’s second-biggest sugar producer Mackay Sugar Ltd. (MSL). At three locations, raw sugar is produced for the Australian domestic market and growth markets in South-East Asia.

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