Sugar refiner Nordzucker has posted an operating loss of €14.6 million for its 2019/20 financial year, despite seeing sales rise for the period.
The group posted a 6% increase in sales to €1.44 billon, and remains hopeful that it can achieve a 'positive result' in the coming year.
Nordzucker said that the realignment of its sales strategy, coupled with a 'significant' streamlining of its operations and permanent cost reductions helped contribute to its full-year sales gain.
In addition, the group's 70% stake in Australia-based Mackay Sugar Ltd was also consolidated, providing a positive contribution to sales.
It also noted that the operating loss for the year showed an improvement on the previous 12-month period, when the company posted an operating loss of €58 million.
It said that it will not be paying a dividend this year, the second year in a row that it has taken this decision.
While sugar prices have recovered in the past year, the coronavirus crisis has created 'completely new conditions on the world market', Nordzucker said, with a sudden increase in demand in established markets such as Europe, due to consumer stockpiling.
"We were able to meet the sudden increase in demand in all our countries. Many of our customers have explicitly thanked us for this," commented Dr Lars Gorissen, Nordzucker CEO.
"Due to the easing, we currently expect that the impact of the corona pandemic on demand in the EU will be relatively small and that prices will remain largely stable. Our clear objective is to return to positive results in the current financial year."
Gorissen added that he believes sugar consumption will "continue to grow worldwide" once the coronavirus situation has subsided, and the business is pursuing the goal of "further expanding our cane sugar activities".
The company is also seeking to reduce the CO2 emissions generated from sugar production, through the reduced use of pesticides and fertilizers, as well as the introduction of new growing concepts.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine