Suedzucker quarterly results better despite weak sugar price

HAMBURG, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Suedzucker, Europe’s largest sugar refiner, on Tuesday confirmed an improvement in quarterly earnings as stronger bioethanol demand helped offset the burden of weak sugar prices.

The company confirmed an operating profit of 39 million euros ($43.43 million) in the third quarter to end-November 2019 in its 2019/20 fiscal year against an operating loss of 23 million euros in the same year-ago period.

The company had made an advance release of its quarterly figures on Dec. 18.

Suedzucker reaffirmed its December forecast for full year 2019/20 consolidated group operating profits of between 70 million and 130 million euros against 27 million euros in the previous year.

But low sugar prices mean it still expects a full year operating loss in its sugar sector of between 200 to 260 million euros against a loss of 239 million euros on the previous year.

The expected improvement in group results was largely due to strong performances by its non-sugar sectors bioethanol and special products, which range from pizzas to starch, with the green fuel unit Cropenergies performing especially well, it said. ($1 = 0.8981 euros) (Reporting by Michael Hogan Editing by Michelle Martin)