March 13, 2009 / 2:33 PM / 11 years ago

Sugar-ethanol producer Cosan posts qrtly net loss

SAO PAULO, March 13 (Reuters) - Cosan group (CZZ.N), one of the world’s largest sugar and ethanol producers, posted a wider quarterly net loss after incorporating acquisitions.

Its net loss for the fiscal third quarter ended Jan. 31 was $64.6 million, compared with a loss of $59.7 million a year earlier, the company reported late Thursday.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a measure of cash flow known as EBITDA, totaled $92.2 million, up more than eightfold from $11.2 million a year earlier due to the incorporation of new fuel distribution and lubricants assets.

The results were based on U.S. GAAP accounting principles.

Results based on local accounting standards in the Brazilian currency showed a quarterly profit of 5.2 million reais compared with a loss of 71.4 million reais a year earlier.

In its earnings report, Cosan said it included two months of consolidated results from filling stations and lubricants assets of Esso in Brazil, which it purchased from Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) last year. The Esso division is now called Cosan Combustiveis and Lubrificantes (CCL).

The company said quarterly net operating revenue grew nearly threefold to $1.1 billion. It posted an operating profit of $43.2 million, compared with an operating loss a year earlier.

Cosan said net debt grew to almost $1.3 billion at the end of the most recent quarter, compared with a net credit of $48.8 million a year earlier, due to the cost of incorporating CCL and loans from the BNDES development bank for investments in biomass thermoelectric plants.

Cosan posted a net loss of $208 million for the three quarters of the 2009 season ended on Jan. 31, up from a loss of $40.7 million a year earlier.

The company said in a separate note to the local market regulator that it had incorporated the large milling acquisition, Nova America Agroenergia, which will boost the group’s milling capacity by 10.6 million tonnes of cane a year.

In exchange, the holding company Rezende Barbosa, which controlled Nova America Agroenergia, will become one of the principal shareholders in Cosan, with an 11 percent equity stake.

Cosan posted a record cane crush of 44.2 million tonnes this past 2008/09 season in the center-south that ended harvest in December. It yielded 1.7 billion liters of ethanol and 3.27 million tonnes of sugar.

In the third quarter, the company invested 426.9 million reais in land, including 166.3 million reais in the Jatai greenfield milling project in Goias state. It had ongoing investments of 103.5 million reais in biomass thermoelectric plants. ($1=2.311 reais) (Reporting by Reese Ewing and Alberto Alerigi Jr; editing by John Wallace)

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