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Tereos posts strong earnings but warns on higher debt

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: The Tereos logo is displayed at a sugar beet processing plant in Chevrieres

(Reuters) - France's Tereos, the world's second-largest sugar producer by volume, posted a strong rise in annual earnings on Thursday, helped by high sugar and ethanol prices and good returns in its starch business, but warned its debt could rise next year.

Tereos said adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the year ending March 31 rose 46% at constant exchanges rates to 682 million euros ($730.63 million), reaching its target of 600-700 million euros EBITDA six months earlier than planned.

The cooperative group has, however, been shaken by repeated senior management changes in the past two years, including the ousting of two chief executives, and a high debt level that has been at the centre of the new management's strategy.

The sale of some assets, including its units in China, Mozambique and pullout of its malt activities, helped it post a net profit of 172 million euros, against a loss of 133 million in 2020/21 and to lower its debt to 2.39 billion, from 2.53 billion a year earlier.

While it maintained its target of a debt below 2 billion euros by 2024, the group warned that its level could increase in the 2022/23 fiscal year due to the sharp increase in raw materials and energy costs.

($1 = 0.9334 euros)

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, Olivier Sorgho and Juliette Portala, editing by Tassilo Hummel and Elaine Hardcastle)

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