Hippo Valley Estates, the local unit of South African sugar processor Tongaat Hullet, reported an annual loss of $8.5 million from an after tax profit of $7.3 million last year as production declined 11 percent.
Sugar production for the year to March 31 dropped to 204 000 tonnes from 228 000 tonnes due to a 15 percent decline in deliveries from private farmers and poor growing conditions.
Capacity utilization dropped to 64 percent from 71 percent last year.
The group incurred an operating loss of $6.2 million from a profit of $16.2 million last year.
Revenue for the year amounted to $116.8 million compared to $146.8 million last year.
An attributable loss of 4.4 cents per share was recorded for the year compared to earnings of 3.8 cents per share achieved in the prior year.
Sugar exports fell 45 percent to 98 000 tonnes largely as a result of lower production volumes. Of these 9 000 tonnes were exported into the regional markets while 74 000 tonnes and 150 000 tonnes s were exported to the European Union and the United States respectively.
Export revenues were also negatively impacted by lower international sugar prices.
Total industry sugar production for the 2016/17 season is estimated between 379 000 tonnes and 440 000 tonnes compared to 412 000 tonnes produced in the 2015/16 season.-The Source