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HAMBURG, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Suedzucker, Europe's largest sugar refiner, on Thursday said rising sugar prices helped it post an 81 percent jump in first-half net profit at 155 million euros ($173.6 million).
Suedzucker had made an advance partial release of its half-year results on Sept. 22 when it raised its full-year earnings forecast as higher sugar prices fuelled a strong increase in second-quarter earnings.
The company on Thursday confirmed it expected group operating profit in its 2016/17 financial year starting in March to reach 340 million to 390 million euros from 241 million euros in the previous year.
First-half operating profit in its core sugar sector rose to 40 million euros from a loss of 13 million euros in the previous year, Suedzucker said.
The 2016 sugar harvest processing campaign began in September, it said, adding that indications for this year's sugar beet harvest were positive.
"Suedzucker Group expects an above average beet yield of just under 76 tonnes per hectare (previous year: 69) thanks to heavy rainfall in June and July," it said. "Sugar yield will come in at the average level of the past five years."
Raw sugar futures rose to their highest in more than 4 years on Oct. 5, as lowered expectations for Indian production and a slackening cane processing in Brazil lent support to talk of a potential world sugar supply deficit.
Lower costs of grains and other raw materials for bioethanol production were also assisting green fuel unit CropEnergies , Suedzucker said. ($1 = 0.8928 euros) (Reporting By Michael Hogan, editing by)