Biofuels project growth could slow - Austria's BDI

13 August 2008 15:54  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--The biofuels-food debate and high raw material costs continue to make the market more difficult and could slow demand for new projects, Austrian biodiesel plant builder BDI Biodiesel said during its 2008 first-half results briefing on Wednesday.


“On the basis of the total orders currently on hand, the management board expects sales in 2008 as a whole to stabilise further at a lower level, with an improvement over 2007 in the EBIT [earnings before interest and tax] margin,” the Graz-based firm said.


BDI rejected claims in recent high-profile reports that biofuels caused the upsurge in food prices and cited studies showing there was at best a minimal connection.


“We are convinced that the situation is being exaggerated here,” it said.


Like German biofuels industry group Verband der Deutschen Biokraftstoffindustrie, BDI pointed to other drivers such as higher energy and fertiliser prices and the weak US dollar.


But BDI, for its part, was in a good market position with its multi-feedstock process which gave operators maximum flexibility in choosing between many different raw materials, it said.


For the six months ended 30 June, BDI posted EBIT of €2.1m ($3.1m), up from €400,000 in the 2007 first half, on sales of €32m, up 18.6%.


EBIT margin rose to 6.6%, from 1.5% in the year-earlier period.


($1 = €0.67)


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