CropEnergies defies German E10 troubles as profit, sales soar

12 July 2011 19:38  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--German biofuels firm CropEnergies reported a sharp increase in its fiscal first-quarter operating profit and sales, despite the country’s troubled launch of 10% bioethanol blended gasoline (E10), it said on Tuesday.

CropEnergies reported operating profit for the three months ended 31 May at €15.3m ($21.5m) - sharply up from the €2.4m in the same period last year - as sales rose by 41% to €132.1m.

CropEnergies' bioethanol production increased by 14% year on year to 157,000 cubic metres, partly as a result of less maintenance work compared with the same period last year, it said.

As for E10, CropEnergies said sales are picking up.

The fuel has been approved for sale at Germany's pumps since 1 January, but many drivers rejected it, fearing damage to their engines.

CropEnergies said producers sold some 149,000 tonnes of E10 blended fuel in April, a 9% market share. This compares with 115,000 tonnes in February.

By mid-June, E10 was already available at about half of Germany's petrol stations, CropEnergies said.

In fact, Germany's E10 volumes are significantly higher than volumes at French petrol stations when the fuel was introduced there two years ago, the company added.

However, an industry source has told ICIS the German and French E10 launches differ because France’s E10 contains ethanol and ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE), a bio-ether.

For the full fiscal year ending 29 February 2012, CropEnergies expects sales to reach up to €570m, a 21% year-on-year increase from €473m in the 2010/2011 fiscal year.

The company is one of Europe’s largest bioethanol producers with a capacity of 700,000 cubic metres/year.

($1 = €0.71)

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