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France's Tereos advances sugar production as energy curbs loom

PARIS, Aug 31 (Reuters) - French sugar maker Tereos will bring forward the start of its 2022 production in France by about a week ahead of possible energy restrictions by the government this winter if Russia cuts off gas supplies, as spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Sugar production is among the most energy-intensive industries. French factories, which usually run between mid-September to early February, are highly reliant on gas to transform their sugar beets into the sweetener.

"We plan to bring forward the start of the campaign to pass before the government restrictions," the Tereos spokesperson told Reuters. "Today we still don't know to what extent they will such restrictions but we are a winter industry so we need to anticipate."

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne urged companies on Monday to draft energy savings plans by next month, warning they would be hit first if ever France had to ration the supply of gas and electricity.

Tereos, which also makes ethanol from sugar beets, prepared its factories so that they would be operational to work as soon as next week, the spokesperson said. The start of the campaign will differ per factory.

The decision to bring forward the campaign was taken after consulting the cooperative's members. Those who will accept to harvest their sugar beets early will be granted a compensation, the spokesperson said.

Tereos, which has large activities in Brazil, is the world's second largest sugar maker by volume. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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