UPDATE 1-Brazil's Odebrecht to raise cane crush by 15 pct in 2015/16
SAO PAULO, July 2 (Reuters) - Brazil's sugar and ethanol group Odebrecht Agroindustrial, a subsidiary of Odebrecht SA , expects to crush 27.5 million tonnes of cane in the 2015/16 crop, a 15 pct increase from the previous year, the company said on Thursday in an earnings statement.
Odebrecht Agroindustrial, the second largest ethanol producer in Brazil, said production of the biofuel and sugar should increase more, 22 percent and 28 percent, respectively, as it is adopting practices that increase cane yields such as longer maturity varieties and crop renovation.
In the previous crop the company produced 479,000 tonnes of sugar and 1.58 billion liters of ethanol.
Odebrecht's production increases happens amid unfavorable market conditions, with sugar prices at the lowest levels in six and a half years.
"Despite the adverse outlook for the sector, Odebrecht Agroindustrial decided to continue with its growth strategy," said the company, who plans to invest 600 million reais ($193 million) during the 2015/16 crop, after having invested 1 billion reais ($322 million) in 2014/15.
"We remain positive about the bioenergy potential," it said.
Odebrecht had a net loss of 1.1 billion reais ($354 million) in the 2014/15 crop, although 37 percent smaller than a year before.
Odebrecht Agroindustrial operates nine mills in four Brazilian states. (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)
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