Sugar producer Alteo first-half profit jumps on strong harvest
PORT LOUIS Feb 15 (Reuters) - Mauritius sugar producer Alteo posted a pretax profit jump of 44.4 percent, helped by a strong harvest and savings from a merger to create the Indian Ocean island's biggest sugar producer.
The first-half results were compared with the combined results of Deep River Beau Champ Ltd and Flacq United Estates Limited (FUEL) before their merger to create Alteo, which took place in July.
Pretax profit rose to 1.57 billion rupees ($51 million) in the six months to Dec. 31.
Alteo said on Friday profitability would be lower in the second half because of the seasonality of sugar harvesting.
"Most of the revenues for the financial year have already been accrued to date so that the profitability relating to these activities for the full financial year is expected to be lower."
It also cautioned results from energy production would be 'negative' in the second half of its financial year.
Several sugar millers burn bagasse, a waste generated when crushing sugar cane, to supply the national grid. During the intercrop season they burn coal to meet commitments, which ramps up costs. Maintenance costs are also incurred during the intercrop period.
Alteo said it expected its operations in Tanzania to continue recording fair profitability in the second half.
The sugar sector accounts for roughly 1.2 percent of Mauritius' $10 billion economy. ($1 = 30.60 Mauritius rupees) (Reporting by Jean Paul Arouff; Editing by Richard Lough and Helen Massy-Beresford)