Nordzucker profits double on high sugar prices
* Net profits rise to 208 million euros from 91 million euros
* Company forecasts profit increase in next financial year
HAMBURG May 31 (Reuters) - Germany's Nordzucker, the European Union's second-largest sugar refiner by quota, said on Wednesday that net profit for 2011/12 more than doubled because of high European sugar prices and forecast another profit rise for its next financial year.
"This performance was attributable to the good sales of quota sugar at higher prices compared to the previous year, as well as additional significant savings implemented as part of the profitability plus efficiency programme," the company said.
Net profit in the year ended February 2012 rose to 208 million euros ($258 million) from 91 million euros the previous year, with sales up 11 percent to 2 billion euros.
German confectionery makers said in May 2011 that they could not buy enough sugar because of the EU's restrictive production quotas and that import restrictions were pushing up prices.
"The 2011/12 financial year was marked by a tense supply situation because of the lower level of EU imports," said Nordzucker CEO Hartwig Fuchs in a statement. "The main priority, therefore, was to ensure that our clients were supplied with the required amounts of sugar."
In October 2011, the European Commission proposed abolishing national production quotas, which limit annual EU sugar output to 13.8 million tonnes, compared with annual EU consumption of about 16.5 million tonnes.
Europe's leading industrial sugar users have urged policymakers to end the production quotas from 2015, blaming the system for shortages in recent months.
Nordzucker, largely owned by north German sugar farmers, added: "If business proceeds as forecast, the prognosis for the current financial year is for sales as well as consolidated net profit to exceed the levels in the 2011/12 financial year."
In recent weeks the EU has approved more imports and more flexible sales of sugar from production quotas. ($1 = 0.8069 euros) (Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by David Goodman)
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