France's Avril Sees Crops Fuelling Profit Despite Tough 2023

By Reuters
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France's Avril Sees Crops Fuelling Profit Despite Tough 2023

French oilseeds group Avril expects its core profit to increase by over half by the end of the decade as its crop-based food, fuel and industrial products meet demand for lower-carbon goods, it said.

The agribusiness group, created by oilseed and protein crop growers, is France's largest biodiesel and animal nutrition maker and a leading player in cooking oil and plant-based chemicals.

The group's profit fell last year from record levels in 2022, when Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent agricultural commodity prices soaring.

Core EBITDA earnings reached €341 million, down from €583 million in 2022, while net profit dropped to €39 million from €218 million, with falling commodity markets and an economic downturn in Europe weighing, Avril said.

But the group aims to boost core earnings to over €550 million by 2030, supported by cost savings and increased investments in crop-derived products after divesting animal protein activities since 2021.



In biofuel, Avril is focusing on expanding its 100% biodiesel fuel made from rapeseed for fleet trucks.

After sales of the Oleo100 fuel reached 160,000 metric tonnes last year, against the group's total biodiesel output of around 1.2 million tonnes, the group aims for volume growth of 20%-25% in 2024, chief executive Jean-Philippe Puig told reporters.

Demand for the lower-emissions fuel is strong, though bottlenecks in vehicle supply chains have curbed the number of suitable lorries arriving on the market, Puig added.

Avril is also looking at developing with farmers intermediate crops like camelina as biomass for sustainable aviation fuel, he said.


The group is pursuing plans to expand capacity to crush sunflower seed in France and reduce reliance on imports following upheaval caused by the war in Ukraine.

Investments in its French sunflower crushing facilities have raised output through greater reliability, while expansion at the Lezoux site in central France will bring annual capacity there from around 170,000 tonnes to 240,000 tonnes by early next year, Puig said.

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