(Adds financial details, company background.)
SAO PAULO, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Brazilian energy and logistics company Cosan SA Indústria e Comércio on Thursday reported a net profit of 686 million reais ($211.10 million) in the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from 183 million reais a year earlier.
Cosan said it benefited from the recovery in the Brazilian economy, citing larger fuel and natural gas sales compared with the year-earlier quarter.
Cosan, which is a partner of Royal Dutch Shell Plc in the world’s largest sugar maker, Raízen, reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) of 2.19 billion reais versus 1.35 billion reais in the same period in 2016.
The Raízen joint venture is also Brazil’s third-largest fuel distributor, managing a network of gas stations under the Shell brand. Cosan said fuel sales increased 4 percent in the fourth quarter. Diesel sales were particularly strong, jumping 9 percent, due to higher demand from the agricultural sector.
Cosan said the sugar business suffered from low global prices for the sweetener. As a result, the company shifted the production mix of its mills in Brazil toward ethanol.
The company said it allocated 48 percent of sugar cane to sugar production in the fourth quarter compared with 56 percent in the same quarter in 2016.
The firm, which controls Brazil’s largest natural gas distributor, Comgás, reported a 4 percent jump on gas consumption in Brazil late last year.
Cosan SA is a subsidiary of New York listed Cosan Ltd . It holds 50 percent of Raízen, with the other half owned by Shell. ($1 = 3.2497 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira Editing by Matthew Lewis)