Brazil sugar group São Martinho posts 89 pct profit rise
SAO PAULO Nov 11 (Reuters) - Brazilian sugar and ethanol milling group São Martinho SA posted a profit of 115.2 million reais ($45 million) in its second quarter, up 89 percent from a year earlier helped by the sale of agribusiness assets, the company said.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, debt and amortization (EBITDA) rose nearly 8 percent to 256.9 million reais, São Martinho said in a statement on Monday.
This plus the one-off sale of the company's Agropecuaria Boa Vista assets announced in May helped boost gains.
The group's crushing of sugar cane for the first six months of the April-March cane harvest season was up 30 percent at 15 million tonnes, which represents 77 percent of São Martinho's guidance for the 2014/2015 crop year.
The company said it produced 987,000 tonnes of sugar, 29 percent more than in the first six months of last year.
Ethanol output by the group in the first half of the harvest season was up 39 percent to 642 million liters. The improved output was helped by increased stakes that São Martinho took in the Nova Fronteira and Santa Cruz mills this year.
The company also boosted its earnings by selling 507,000 megawatt-hours from April through September, an increase of 80 percent from the same six months last year. Brazil's growing energy crisis due to drought over the main hydroelectric reservoirs have caused spot energy rates to climb to near record levels since February.
The more advanced cane mills burn leftover bagasse, or cane stalks, in biomass thermoelectric plants after they have pressed the sugary juices out of the cane to make sugar and ethanol.
Sales of sugar were down nearly 16 percent at 249.8 million reais from a year ago as the company is following the industry trend of stocking the sweetener on expectations of selling it in future months at higher prices.
Sugar stocks at the company are up 83 percent from Sept. 30 last year at 357,737 tonnes.
($1 = 2.55 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Reese Ewing; editing by Jason Neely)
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