Food, ingredients and retail group Associated British Foods, which owns British Sugar operations in the UK and Poland, has welcomed the EU deal on sugar which it says will cost it less than the GBP40m (US$68.8) it said the original plan would have taken off its profits.

These proposals are welcomed by British Sugar as one of the most efficient producers in the EU, it said. The main elements of the June proposal are retained in this agreement but are phased in over a longer time and additional funds are made available for industry restructuring.

British Sugar is given the option of purchasing 83,000 tonnes of quota for its UK beet sugar business and approximately 10,000 tonnes for its Polish business, it said.

Our best estimate of the operating profit impact on our sugar operations, which results from this agreement, is based on the assumptions made by the European Commission for its outcome. The outcome is slightly better at the end of the period of transition than the £40m guidance previously given. Trading in the current year for British Sugar UK and Poland has been difficult and we expect volatility to remain during the period of transition. We continue to work on cost reductions in both the UK and Poland and the exploitation of new revenue opportunities including the manufacture of bioethanol in the UK.