Südzucker pays EU substantial sums
On April 26, 2010, Germany's Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) released the numbers for EU agricultural aid for the year 2009. The amount shown for Südzucker AG Mannheim/Ochsenfurt is EUR 43 million. Payments Südzucker made to the EU are only partially considered in this amount.
Of the reported amount, about EUR 30 million was from the restructuring fund. However, the payments totaling EUR 393 million made by Südzucker in the two previous years, which were not offset by any payments from the fund, were not taken into consideration. Südzucker's net position with respect to the restructuring fund is therefore that of a significant contributor. Within the framework of the sugar market regulation reforms, financial aid was granted to companies that permanently surrendered sugar production quotas and completely closed sugar factories. These payments were financed by European sugar producers, which contributed to the restructuring fund established for this purpose. Südzucker surrendered 313,000 tonnes of sugar production quotas and had to close two of its original eleven sugar factories in Germany.
Südzucker also received about EUR 10 million in export refunds for exporting quota sugar to non-EU countries. In return for the export refunds granted, the sugar industry and beet farmers were charged a lump sum production levy of EUR 12 per tonne of sugar. Südzucker thus paid EUR 13.9 million for surrendering 1.16 million tonnes of sugar quota. However, this amount was not shown in the published numbers.
A further portion of the EU payments, about EUR 3 million, relates to equalization payments made to Südzucker's farm operations (traditional business since 1836, focusing on experimental methods). These payments, which all EU farm operations receive, are for the cultivation of agricultural areas and are directly linked to numerous constraints (cross compliance), which are issued by the EU Commission. Companies are continuously checked regarding compliance with nature, environment, animal and consumer protection requirements.