MANNHEIM (dpa-AFX) - Südzucker expects a significant decline in profits after a dismal start to the new financial year. After an increase of more than a third to around 950 million euros in the old year, consolidated operating profit is likely to fall to between 500 and 600 million euros in 2024/25, the company surprisingly announced on Monday. The main reason for this is higher production costs in the sugar segment. However, the dividend is set to increase by 20 cents to 0.90 euros per share following the growth in the previous year.

In the first quarter of the financial year, the operating result is also likely to fall significantly, after 282 million euros in the same period last year.

The war in Ukraine continues to increase the fluctuations on the sales and procurement markets, it said. The further course of the burdens caused by the EU's extension of duty-free access for agricultural imports from Ukraine, which is now limited in terms of volume, remains uncertain. In addition, the effects of the war in the Middle East are difficult to assess. Südzucker's management expects group revenues of EUR 10.0 to 10.5 billion in the current financial year. In 2023/24, revenues increased by 8.4 percent to 10.3 billion euros.

The dividend increase was evidently unable to comfort investors about the business outlook: Südzucker shares recently traded two percent lower./mis/he