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AB Sugar warns of ‘much lower’ sugar production

The company has also announced delays in opening processing plants this year


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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AB Sugar warns of ‘much lower’ sugar production

AB Sugar has warned UK production was expected to be ‘much lower’ next year with reduced beet yields as a consequence of late drilling due to wet spring weather followed by the unusually dry summer in the UK.

 

Production increased considerably in the 2017/18 crop year to 1.37 million tonnes.

 

Revenues and operating profits in the next financial year will be ‘well down’ on the last as significantly lower EU prices hit.


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“The global supply of sugar has moved into surplus and the world market sugar price has reduced. The EU sugar regime ended in October 2017, removing sales quotas and constraints on exports.

 

“As a result of substantially higher EU sugar production in 2017/18, through increased crop area and beet yields, EU prices have fallen faster and more significantly than expected and are now more closely related to these lower world market prices.

 

“For our next financial year, the current level of EU sugar prices would represent a substantial reduction on those achieved this year.

 

“The effect of these lower prices on our UK and Spanish businesses will be only partially offset by continuing performance improvement initiatives and, as previously advised, the profit at AB Sugar will be significantly lower than that achieved this year.”

Beet factories to delay opening

Sugar beet factories will start processing beet around two weeks later this season than last, depending on factory. The new campaign start dates were announced as processor British Sugar warned of a much lower beet harvest to come compared to 2017/18, when yields averaged a record 83.4t/ha.

 

This season’s campaign start dates are:

  • Bury 26 September
  • Wissington 26 September
  • Newark 2 October
  • Cantley 10 October

 

Colm McKay, BritIsh Sugar agriculture director said: “We are pleased to announce the sugar beet campaign start dates. The dates are aimed at striking a balance between supplying our customers with a quality product, allowing time for the crop to mature, and giving growers and hauliers time to plan their harvesting and delivery schedules.”

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