Suedzucker quarterly profits jump as sugar sector recovers

HAMBURG, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Suedzucker, Europe’s largest sugar producer, said on Wednesday its second quarter operating profits and sales rose strongly as its core sugar business improved its performance.

In an advance earnings release, Suedzucker reported a 25% increase in group operating profits for the three months to the end of August to about 85 million euros ($100 million). Sales rose 10% to 1.84 billion euros.

The sugar business posted quarterly operating profits of about 7 million euros against a loss of 42 million euros in the same period last year.

Suedzucker had said in July it hoped its results would improve on expectations the economic impact of the pandemic would subside.

“We have achieved an improvement in the sugar sector partly because of our cost cutting and improved sugar prices,” a Suedzucker spokesman told Reuters.

“We said at the beginning of the current financial year that we hoped to achieve operating profits in our sugar sector of between zero to 100 million euros and this remains our expectation.”

“The overall sugar market outlook is still uncertain because of the pandemic. But we are hoping that more progress will be made in combating the pandemic in coming months.”

Sugar futures hit their highest in over four years in August on fears of a reduced crop in Brazil.

The company repeated its forecast for group operating profits in its 2021/22 fiscal year of between 300 and 400 million euros against 236 million in the previous year.

“Despite expected decreasing effects from the corona pandemic, there are still risks linked to the pandemic in business year 2021/22,” it said. “The respective economic and financial impact and duration is still difficult to assess.”

Suedzucker’s full quarterly results will be released on Oct. 14. (Reporting by Michael Hogan Editing by Mark Potter)