Imperial Sugar loss widens in fiscal '09
Imperial Sugar loss widens in fiscal '09
BakingBusiness.com, December 08, 2009
by Bakingbusiness Staff

SUGAR LAND, TEXAS — The Imperial Sugar Co. sustained a loss of $23,183,000 in the year ended Sept. 30. This compared with a loss of $20,921,000 in fiscal 2008. Fiscal 2009 results included a pre-tax gain of $27.9 million related to domestic raw sugar futures contracts intended to hedge fiscal 2010 purchases. In addition, results for both years were negatively impacted by reduced sales volumes and costs associated with the explosion in late February 2008 that destroyed much of the company’s refinery in Port Wentworth, Ga.

Sales during fiscal 2009 totaled $522,563,000, down 12% from $592,423,000 in fiscal 2008.

For the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, Imperial Sugar recorded a loss of $188,000. During the same period of fiscal 2008, the company experienced a loss of $5,137,000. Sales during the quarter were $147,322,000, up 18% from $124,809,000 during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008.

"We have taken significant steps in fiscal 2009 to strengthen our business and pave the way for a bright future," said John Sheptor, president and chief executive officer of Imperial Sugar. "The Port Wentworth refinery has been rebuilt with new technologies and greater flexibility. The recently completed three-party joint venture in Louisiana has begun construction of a new refinery on property located at the current Gramercy refinery site. Through these efforts, Imperial will own or participate in two of the most state-of the-art sugar refineries in the U.S. ensuring a dependable supply to our customers for decades to come.

In addition to the rebuild, Mr. Sheptor mentioned innovation and safety as key measures for Imperial Sugar.

"New product launches in 2009 included Redi-Measure brown sugar ¼-cup packets, Bakers Supreme natural ingredient frosting mixes and ready-to-use ice tea liquid sweetener," he said. "We have developed improved safety methods for combustible dust management and shared them openly with international industry participants. With our experience in Mexico and an expanding presence in organic sweeteners, we are well-positioned to be a change agent and strong advocate for the industry while continuing to build a strong foundation for success."

Through Nov. 30, Imperial Sugar said it has spent $188 million of the estimated $220 million to $230 million in reconstruction costs in Port Wentworth.