German sugar producer Suedzucker last week reported that sales fell 7.4 per cent in the first half ended 31 August, but operating profit rose 18 per cent.
Suedzucker said the fall in sales was mainly due to a change in the composition of the group, as sugar sales of Saint Louis Sucre, which the company acquired in June 2001, were less than sales of frozen food retailer Schoeller Group, which Suedzucker sold in October 2001.
Saint Louis Sucre had sales of €449 million in the first half of fiscal 2002/03, and Schoeller had sales of €696 million in the year-earlier period.
Suedzucker's first half operating profit rose to €235 million from €198 million in the same period last year, also mainly on changes in the composition of the group.
For the full fiscal year 2002/03, Suedzucker predicted a double- digit rise in operating profit, mainly on favourable prospects in its Eastern European sugar business and the expected dynamic developments in its specialty food segment.