20th century, innovations and investments
Innovations and investments contribute to a continuous growth
With the discovery of the Adant turbine in 1902, come the first sugar cubes. A few years later, in 1919, Raffinerie Tirlemontoise starts upgrading its by-products. Sugar syrup for instance is used to produce, among others, industrial alcohol and lime from the factory contributes to fertilizing agricultural land. As a result of this philosophy the company nv Produits Organiques de Tirlemont emerges , leading ten years later to the creation of Citrique Belge.
In 1929, the sugar factories of Wanze, Braives and Les Waleffes are completely integrated into RT Group, followed one year later by the Sucreries de Genappe and the Sucrerie de Brugelette. That same year, Raffinerie Tirlemontoise is instrumental in the creation of the Société Coopérative des Fabricants de Sucre (Cooperative Society of Sugar Manufacturers). Meanwhile, Wanze builds the two biggest horizontal silos in the world. The engineers of Raffinerie Tirlemontoise design the RT Continuous Diffuser that soon makes inroads in Europe and Asia.
During the 1950’s cornerstones for a Common European Agricultural Policy are laid
On 25 March 1957 the Treaty of Rome lays down the foundations of what is today called the European Union. Just one year later during the Stresa Conference, the cornerstones are laid for a Common European agricultural policy. It is not until 1 July 1968 however, that the general rules are established for sugar. At that time the Belgian quota for sugar is 550,000 tons per year.
Expansion of the product portfolio
In 1969, Candico is integrated into RT Group and for the first time cane sugar cubes are launched in the Benelux. A year later, Lebbe, specialised in icing sugar since 1870, joins forces with RT Group. As a reaction to the growth in artificial sweeteners, Raffinerie Tirlemontoise launches Ti’Light in 1985, a combination of sugar and aspartame.
Südzucker and Raffinerie Tirlemontoise join forces
In 1987, 25 % of the shares in RT Group are offered for sale on the Brussels stock exchange. At the end of that year, the Südzucker Group acquires 75% of the shares in RT Group, which at that point in time is owned by the Wittouck family. One year later the German group makes a public bid for the remaining 25% traded on the Brussels stock market.
Meanwhile, Raffinerie Tirlemontoise’s R&D department is making great strides in the extraction of inulin and oligofructose from chicory roots, baptized “Orafti”, later integrated into Südzucker’s “Functional Foods” Beneo Group. For more information about Beneo, please visit www.beneo.com.
Finally, 1995 is also an important year in the 20th century for Raffinerie Tirlemontoise: the sugar cubes are given their famous ‘scored line’.
21st century, towards a sustainable future