Béghin-Say, the French sugar producer in the midst of a high-profile buyout, revealed earlier today [Friday] that net profit for the H1 of its fiscal year has soared 171% to €75.6m (US$74.9m) from €27.9m.

The dramatic increase was, said the company, helped by the gains made on the disposals of some of its Italian assets. Meanwhile, H1 operating profit was down 4.1% year on year to €85.2m, on sales of €779.8m.

Looking forward, Béghin-Say said that it is confident of maintaining or even boosting its margins in the second half, despite the fact that it expects to be influenced by external factors such as the weather and planned agricultural output.

Béghin-Say is currently 53.8% owned by Italian energy giant Edison, but the majority shareholder is in talks to sell the stake to sell the stake to a consortium of French sugar cooperatives.