Underlying quarterly losses at US sugar processor Imperial Sugar have fallen on the back of better sales, boosted by stronger volumes and higher prices for refined sugar.

The company booked a net loss of US$8.9m for the first quarter of its fiscal year, which ended on 31 December.

A year earlier, Imperial Sugar enjoyed a first-quarter net income of $178.1m but that figure was boosted by insurance claims related to the explosion at the company’s Port Wentworth facility in 2008. The company also recorded mark-to-market gains of $18.9m on raw-sugar derivatives.

Without these gains, Imperial Sugar’s first-quarter net loss would have been $12.1m last year.

The narrower loss this year came as net sales climbed 30.8% to $227.4m, Imperial said on Monday (7 February). Sales volumes grew 11% and refined prices increased 18%.

Click here for the statement issued by Imperial Sugar.