January 13, 2014 / 7:45 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Suedzucker affirms outlook after Q3 profit slide

* Q3 op profit 182.9 mln eur vs yr ago 253.9 mln

* Sees FY op profit at about 650 mln vs 974 mln (Adds detail and background from paragraph four)

FRANKFURT, Jan 13 (Reuters) - German sugar refiner Suedzucker affirmed its full-year outlook for a slide in profit, after reporting a 28 percent decline in third-quarter operating profit amid lower sugar prices.

In the three months to the end of November, operating profit fell to 182.9 million euros ($250 million) from 253.9 million a year earlier, Suedzucker Europe’s largest sugar producer, said on Monday.

In its full year through February, it expects operating profit to slide to about 650 million euros from 974 million.

The company had warned on Nov. 21 that problems in its core sugar sector caused by low sugar prices would cause a significant fall in operating profit.

Associated British Foods, another of Europe’s top sugar companies, in November also forecast another fall in profit at its sugar business because of expected further falls in European Union sugar prices.

EU sugar prices were weakened after moves by the EU Commission to allow more imports into the bloc to increase sugar supplies, Sueducker said.

The EU regulates its sugar market with production quotas but authorises imports when it assesses sugar supplies are too tight, so depressing prices for domestic producers.

More sugar imports into the EU were also generated by free trade agreements with the Central American nations Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador, as well as Colombia and Peru, Suedzucker added.

Suedzucker warned its core sugar division would also report lower revenue than last year in the rest of its current 2013/14 financial year, because of factors including weaker prices for sugar inside the EU market and declining sales revenue for exports because of falling international prices.

$1 = 0.7314 euros Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Michael Hogan; Editing by David Holmes

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