Weak EU harvests dent Agrana profit hopes
The Austrian-based group said that earnings for the March-to-August half soared 28% to E99.6m, boosted by a firm performance in particular in sugar, for which “sales to resellers were especially strong”, as was the market for industrial use of the sweetener.
Group revenues rose 25% to E1.60bn.
However, a rise of operating profits of 21% to E142.5m would be cancelled out by setbacks expected in the second half of the financial year, to leave the annual result flat.
The caution reflected a forecast of “high volatility in raw material and selling prices… in combination with reduced crop yields” in a number of the agricultural commodities that Agrana purchases, for conversion into products from ethanol to starch.
The sugar division, which has processing plants in five countries, faced the prospect of a beet crop which will “for weather reasons… fall short of last year’s output”, despite a rise of 10,000 hectares to 103,000 hectares in plantings.