Imperial Sugar loss exceeds $20 million in fiscal 2008

by Eric Schroeder
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SUGAR LAND, TEXAS — Imperial Sugar Co. sustained a loss of $20,921,000 in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, which compared with net income of $40,239,000, equal to $3.52 per share on the common stock, in fiscal 2007. Fiscal 2008 results included $27.2 million in pre-tax charges related to the effects of the refinery explosion at Port Wentworth, Ga., in February.

Sales for fiscal 2008 were $592,423,000, down sharply from $875,527,000, primarily due to lower sales volumes as a result of the Port Wentworth incident.

"We are encouraged by recent improvements in sugar prices as we enter the new year," said John Sheptor, president and chief executive officer. "Our liquidity, lack of debt and capital resources position strengthens our ability to effectively manage our business through industry cycles. And while fiscal 2008 was a challenging period due to unforeseen events, we expect that our Port Wentworth rebuild and refocus on various business initiatives will bring improved future results."

Mr. Sheptor said the cost to rebuild Port Wentworth is between $200 million and $220 million, and the company has begun limited production of sugar and some specialty sugars at the site. The company expects to begin producing bulk granulated sugar in early 2009, and complete restoration of packaging facilities capabilities in the fall of 2009.

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