Astarta (AST PW: N/R), a large Ukrainian farming holding, is planning in 2009 to increase sugar beet harvest by 12.2% y/y, to 1.75 million tonnes, according to a press release of the company. The holding's farms have completed harvesting early grains, collecting 222,000 tonnes of grain from an area of 59,000 hectares. The holding is planning in 2009 to harvest over 360,000 tonnes of grain and oil-bearing plants against 393,000 tonnes in 2008.
We expect this news could provide further upward momentum for rising share price. Global sugar prices have surged following low sugar cane crop volumes in India and Brazil; after bottoming out at US$0.12 per lb in October 2008, prices have accelerated since April this year to now more than US$0.22 per lb.