Agrana sees reduced crop yields, stable op profit

VIENNA Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:25am EDT

VIENNA Oct 11 (Reuters) - Austrian sugar, starch and fruit group Agrana expects to generate stable full-year operating profit despite a weaker second half amid lower crop yields, the unit of German group Suedzucker said on Thursday.

"After the strong earnings in the first half of the year, the next two quarters are expected to see pronounced volatility in raw material and selling prices. This in combination with reduced crop yields is predicted to lead to lower earnings in the second half of 2012|13," it said.

"For the year as a whole, Agrana should be able to reach an operating profit approximately in line with that of last year."

First-half operating profit before exceptional items rose by a fifth to 142.5 million euros ($183.9 million) as revenue jumped by a quarter to 1.60 billion.

"The markets remain volatile and this limits visibility for the rest of the financial year. Also, the crop yields from the campaigns now in progress will be lower than in 2011," Chief Executive Johann Marihart said.

It forecast 2012/13 revenue would surpass 3.0 billion euros on slight volume growth and continuing high price levels.

($1 = 0.7751 euros) (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by David Holmes)

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