Südzucker, the German multinational crop processing business that owns the Ensus wheat to bioethanol plant on Teesside, has reported increases in full year profitability and revenues.
The Group made an operating profit of €426 million on sales of €6.48 billion in the year ended February 28th 2017, compared to €241m and €6.39bn in the previous year.
Sugar beet refining is the Group’s largest business and the recovery in the global sugar market was reflected in its returning a €72m profit after the previous year’s €79m loss. Sugar revenues fell to €2.78bn from €2.86m in line with lower sugar quota volumes and the reduced 2015/16 harvest. Sugar prices have been rising since October last year, while the company’s 2016/17 beet campaign saw 28.6 million tonnes of beet processed into 4.4m tonnes of sugar (23.7m tonnes and 3.8m tonnes a year earlier).
The Group’s special products division saw revenues rise to €1.82bn from €1.79bn, with a contribution from a new wheat starch plant in Germany. However, the company notes a negative impact from currency exchange in a number of its operations following sterling’s devaluation after the UK Brexit vote last year.
CropEnergies, the division that manages the Ensus plant among other European bioethanol facilities, returned a record operating profit of €98m on sales of €726m, up from €87m and €658m the year before. This was mainly driven by higher bioethanol and animal feed volumes following the re-start of the Ensus facility in July 2016. Profitability was helped by higher production and sales volumes, together with declining raw material and energy costs.
Südzucker forecasts that CropEnergies’ revenues will be in the €725m-€800m range for the current financial year, although operating profit is unlikely to exceed last year’s record.