Apetit, the Finland-based food group, has cut its forecasts for annual sales and operating profit, as low prices hit its sugar venture and challenging market conditions affect its wider food business.

The company said the outlook for Sucros , the sugar business in which it owns a 20% stake, had “deteriorated” amid the “still continuing decline” in the market price for sugar.

Apetit said its food business, which includes fish, frozen vegetables and frozen ready meals, was being affected by trading conditions and the “poor profitability” of its fish products arm persisting for longer than it expected.

The company noted its 2014 operating profit would also be affected by the dispute over its Sucros venture. Apetit had claimed its partner in Sucros, Nordic Sugar , had violated its rights as minority shareholder. An arbitration tribunal dismissed Apetit’s claims in August and ordered the company to pay costs.

“The group’s full-year operating profit excluding non-recurring items is expected to be down significantly from the previous year,” Apetit said today (2 October). The company had previously warned profit would “fall short” of a year earlier. In 2013, Apetit recorded operating profit excluding non-recurring items of EUR12.2.

Apetit’s businesses also include trading in grains and oilseeds. Faced with continued pressure on prices for the commodities, the company said it now expects net sales to fall year-on-year. Previously, it had said sales could match the level seen in 2013 when it generated net sales of EUR387.3m.