Business news from Ukraine

“Astarta” increased sugar beet production by 20% and sugar production by 34%

19 April , 2024  

In 2023, Astarta Agricultural Holding produced 39 thousand tons of sugar beet, up 20% year-on-year, thanks to a record yield of 58 tons/ha compared to 56 tons/ha in 2022, the company said in its annual report on Wednesday evening.

According to the agricultural holding, the record high sugar beet harvest extended the processing period until the end of January 2024. In total, the sugar production campaign in 2023 lasted 130 days, compared to 111 days a year earlier.

“In the 2023-2024 marketing year, Astarta increased sugar production by 34% year-on-year to 377 thousand tons. At the same time, the volume of sugar beet processing in 2023 increased by 37% compared to the same period last year and reached 2.7 million tons. The market share remained unchanged at 21% in 2023, the document says.

The agroholding has engaged more than 100 independent sugar beet producers in eight regions of Ukraine to supply its sugar factories with raw materials. In 2023, they increased the supply of raw materials to 26% of the total volume of this crop processed by the company (18% a year earlier) – up to 707 thousand tons of the crop.

Astarta’s share in Ukraine’s total sugar exports amounted to 12%, or about 50 thousand tons in 2023. Italy and Romania became the key export destinations for the agricultural holding, accounting for 29% and 25% of the company’s exports, respectively. Hungary, Spain and Bulgaria were also among the top five buyers of Astarta’s sugar.

99% of Astarta’s sugar was exported by land, mainly by road (67%) and rail.

Half of the sugar produced was supplied to processing companies, primarily in the food industry, including confectionery, bakery and beverage production.

Astarta also produces by-products such as pressed pulp, dry granulated pulp and molasses from its sugar beet processing and sells them domestically as ingredients for animal feed production for use in its own livestock farming or for biogas production.

The volumes of by-products produced depend on the amount of sugar beet processed, so in 2023 their production volumes increased significantly, the agricultural holding explained. The production of molasses increased by 1.5 times to 98 thousand tons, and pressed pulp – to 1.7 million tons against 1.5 million tons in 2022. Production of granulated beet pulp amounted to 28 thousand tons.

In 2023, Astarta’s bioenergy complex used 145 thousand tons, or 9% of the produced pressed pulp, to produce biogas for its facilities. In addition, 223 tons (approximately 1%) of the produced granulated sugar beet pulp was used as alternative energy at one of the agricultural holding’s sugar plants.

Sugar sales volumes increased by 26% year-on-year to 284 thousand tons in 2023, while the average selling price increased by 3% to EUR 665/ton. Realized prices increased by 18% year-on-year to 26 thousand UAH/ton (excluding VAT).

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