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Ros Agro Sees Russian Beet-Sugar Output 5.3 Million Tons or Less

Bloomberg, 15.12.15

(Bloomberg) -- Russian beet sugar output won’t exceed 5.3 million metric tons a year as that level, along with imports of the refined commodity from Belarus, will be sufficient to meet domestic demand, according to the head of one of the nation’s largest producers.

“I don’t see a strong increase in sugar production,” Maxim Basov, director general of Moscow-based Ros Agro Plc, said in an interview last week. Domestic output will range from 4.7 million to 5.3 million tons a year for the time being, Basov said.

Opportunities to ship Russian-made sugar abroad are limited as countries protect their markets, while beet sugar is typically costlier to produce than the cane variety, he said.

Russian beet sugar output may reach a record 5.09 million tons this season after favorable weather, according to the nation’s Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, or Ikar, up from 4.4 million tons. That would cut deliveries of raw sugar into Russia, once the biggest importer, to the lowest level since 1997-98, when Ikar began compiling data.

Russians will consume 5.75 million tons of sugar this season, from 5.65 million tons last year, as part of the nation’s output now goes to Crimea, annexed from Ukraine last year, said Evgeny Ivanov, an Ikar analyst. Demand is also rising as a weak economy and the withdrawal by Russian tour operators of holidays to the previously popular destinations of Turkey and Egypt mean more people are staying home for vacation, according to Ivanov.

Russia’s sugar industry may see capacity rise if Ros Agro, the country’s second-largest sugar producer according to Ikar, succeeds with plans to buy at least three plants from an indebted rival next year, Basov said. It seeks to invest in the plants, now owned by PAO Razgulay Group, to expand their production capability, he said.

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