Südzucker maintains forecast despite unfavorable conditions
Südzucker Group is confirming its revenue and operating profit forecasts for the sugar, special products and fruit segments for fiscal 2009/10 despite delays in capacity expansion at the bioethanol facilities of its subsidiary CropEnergies AG, located in Wanze, Belgium, and in spite of the difficult overall business situation. For the group overall, revenues are still expected to come in at last year's level of about EUR 5.9 billion and operating profit continues to be forecast at EUR 400 million, considerably higher than last year (prior year 258). Under the current conditions, this group forecast will be harder to achieve.
The CropEnergies segment is responsible for Südzucker Group's bioethanol business in Germany, France and Belgium. The bioethanol plant in Wanze, Belgium, was started up at the end of 2008. An unplanned repair requirement has occurred at this facility, which is the most advanced production plant of its type in Europe. CropEnergies is ensuring that deliveries to customers continue without interruption.
According to a CropEnergies press release, the repair of the defective equipment will be completed in November 2009 and the plant in Wanze will then be ramped back up to normal operating capacity. Because of this short-term delay in expanding the capacity in Belgium, CropEnergies does not expect to be able to match last year's operating profit during the current 2009/10 financial year.