In February, agribusiness giant Bunge Ltd reported a US$22M loss in its sugar and bioenergy segment for 2015, despite improved prices and sales volumes for Brazilian ethanol.

It said improved performance in sugarcane milling was offset by lower results in global trading and merchandising and a US$11M loss related to its Brazilian renewable oils joint venture.

Results in its biofuel joint ventures were lower than in 2014, mainly due to weaker ethanol market conditions in Argentina and the USA.

The sugar and bioenergy segment reported adjusted EBIT of US$10M for fourth quarter 2015, compared to a US$21M loss for the same time in 2014. For the full year, the result was a US$22M loss, compared to a US$35M loss in 2014.

Bunge chief financial officer Drew Burke said ethanol demand remained strong during the fourth quarter and sugar and ethanol prices had improved.

Bunge CEO Soren Schroder added that the ethanol market in Brazil continued to be favourable and 2016 was expected to be a very good year for milling.

Ethanol Producer magazine said Bunge currently operated eight sugarcane mills in Brazil, with the capacity to process 20M tonnes/year of sugarcane. It also has investments in several corn ethanol plants in Argentina and the USA, and has a joint venture in Brazil that will use microalgae to convert sugars into tailored oils.