Sugar Land-Based Imperial Sugar Reports Negative Losses

Imperial Sugar is reporting a net loss of just over $16 million for the April-to-June quarter of this year. That compares to a loss of roughly $6 million for the same quarter of 2010.

Company CEO and president John Sheptor explained the drop to investors in a conference call today.

“Margins eroded due to rising raw sugar prices and competitive pressure that impacted our ability to increase prices to cover higher raw sugar costs.”

A poor Brazilian harvest is the leading cause for rising global prices. Sheptor also blamed tariff import quotas for keeping supplies of raw sugar tight and pushing up domestic prices further. The Department of Agriculture increased the quota in June in an attempt to ease the shortfall.

Imperial is also facing stiff competition from Mexican sugar mills, and the company is still dealing with higher production costs stemming from a 2008 explosion at its Port Wentworth, Georgia refinery.

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