January 29, 2018 / 11:28 AM / 20 days ago

Russia's Rusagro posts lower Q4 revenue as prices drop

MOSCOW, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Russian farming conglomerate Rusagro reported on Monday an 18 percent drop in total revenue for the fourth quarter as prices for sugar and agricultural products declined on the year.

Global prices for many agriculture commodities have been weak due to large output in the main producing countries, including in Russia. The latter got a record grain crop in 2017 and its sugar production from its own beet is expected to rise to a new record this season.

By the end of 2017 inflation in Russia had reached its lowest since the fall of the Soviet Union and, at 2.5 percent against 5.4 percent in 2016, came in well below the central bank’s target level.

Food prices were up 1.1 percent in December on the year compared with a rise of 4.6 percent a year earlier.

Rusagro, which produces sugar as well as grains, mayonnaise, bottled oil and pork, said its total revenue fell to 30.5 billion roubles ($542.2 million) in the last quarter of 2017.

Sugar production rose 11 percent year on year to 637,000 tonnes, but the average sale price fell 27 percent and sales volumes dropped 5 percent, resulting in a 32-percent drop in sugar business revenue, the company said.

Revenue in the agricultural business dropped 17 percent to 10.7 billion roubles as average sale prices for barley, sugar beet, wheat, soybean and corn declined by 3 to 28 percent.

In 2017 as a whole, total revenue declined 7 percent to 89 billion roubles, with a 19 percent decrease in sugar revenue being partly offset by 15 percent growth in the revenue of its meat business where average sale prices mostly inched up.

London-listed shares in Rusagro were down 1.3 percent by 1114 GMT at $10.20 each. ($1 = 56.2524 roubles) (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; additional reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by Louise Heavens)

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