BERLIN, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The consolidated revenues of the Suedzucker Group, Europe's largest sugar refiner, declined by 3.2 percent to 5.03 billion euros (5.6 billion U.S. dollars) in the first nine months of the 2019-2020 financial year, the company announced on Tuesday.
Over the same period, the group's operating result declined by 2.5 percent to 113 million euros. Following the announcement, Suedzucker's shares listed on Germany's SDAX stock market index lost 7 percent on Tuesday.
The German company, which employs over 19,000 people, is still "impacted by the difficult sugar market environment," it noted.
According to Suedzucker, the main causes for the decline in revenue in its sugar business were the sugar market price level in the European Union, "which did not cover costs," and the sharply lower sales volumes, mainly in exports, due to weaker harvests because of droughts in 2018 and 2019.
While the "sugar segment reported losses as expected," the company registered an increase in its CropEnergies segment, the leading producer of bioethanol in the European Union, according to Suedzucker.
The CropEnergies segment generated "significantly higher revenues" of 604 million euros in the first nine months of the fiscal year, up from 532 million euros year-on-year, according to Suedzucker. The operating result more than tripled to 70 million euros.
"Higher net raw material costs were more than offset by significantly better ethanol sales revenues," the company noted.
In December, the company published a forecast for the entire 2019-2020 fiscal year. It projected consolidated group revenues of 6.7 billion euros to 7.0 billion euros, saw a significant decline in revenues in the sugar segment but an increase in the CropEnergies segment.