Sugar producer Tongaat Hulett said on Thursday Namibian competition authorities had approved the R220m sale of its sugar packaging and distribution business in that country to Bokomo.

The group announced in November it was seeking to sell the business, of which it holds 51%, as it aims to cut debt by R8.1bn by March 2021.

The group said in June it had agreed to sell an agribusiness in Eswatini for R375m.

The sale of its starch business to Barloworld is currently in dispute, with that company maintaining the Covid-19 pandemic is serious enough to trigger a clause allowing it to call off the deal. Tongaat disagrees, and the matter is before an independent third-party accountant.

Tongaat has been battling with years of operational underperformance and an accounting scandal, which has prompted a 95% fall in its share price over the past three years.

In morning trade on Thursday, the group’s share price was up 0.37% to R5.40.