German multinational crop processor Südzucker has reported increases in profitability and revenues from the first quarter of its trading year, largely from its sugar and biofuel activities.

The Group made an operating profit of €153 million on sales of €1.78 billion the three months ended May 31st 2017, compared to €110m and €1.61bn in Q1 2016.

CropEnergies, the group’s biofuels division, saw production and ethanol sales volumes rise significantly since the Ensus production plant at Wilton was restarted in Q2 2016. The segment’s profitability increased to €23m from €19m a year earlier, on revenues of €214m (€149m), despite slightly higher raw material prices, higher operating costs from the Ensus restart and Q1 downtime at two biofuel plants in Belgium.

Sugar profitability also rose sharply to €64m on revenues of €777m, from €22m and €694m in Q1 2016, driven by rising world sugar prices and increases in EU sugar quotas from October 2016. The Südzucker Group’s beet area grew to 443,644 hectares in 2017, a 15% increase on the 384,835ha for 2016. The 2017 crop was established in “average to excellent” planting conditions.

The group is forecasting a rise in full year profitability and revenues in line with a stronger performance from its sugar and CropEnergies divisions.