Sugar refiner Südzucker has said the positive impact of panic-buying at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic has faded and was increasingly overshadowed by lower demand from the sugar processing industry amid efforts to contain the virus's spread.
Europe's largest sugar refiner nonetheless stuck with a forecast for group operating profit in its 2020/2021 financial year starting in March to rise to between €300 million and €400 million from €116 million in the previous year.
It affirmed preliminary results showing its fiscal first-quarter operating profit rose 30% to €61 million, helped by higher sugar prices, cost savings and demand for frozen pizzas and functional dietary fibres during lockdown.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the company said that 'consolidated group revenues of €6.9 billion to €7.2 billion are still expected. A significant increase in revenues is anticipated in the sugar segment and the special products segment's revenues are expected to rise slightly.
'In contrast, a significant decline in revenues is assumed in the CropEnergies segment. A moderate revenue increase is expected in the fruit segment.'