* 2012/13 cane harvest recovery is lackluster
* Weak cane ethanol and sugar prices impact results
Nov 8 (Reuters) - The net profit of Brazil’s largest sugar and ethanol producer, Grupo Cosan SA, quadrupled year-on-year in the second quarter of its 2013 fiscal year, thanks to a non-operating financial gain and improved fuel sales, the company said late on Wednesday.
Cosan said in a securities filing its fiscal second quarter, ended Sept. 30, showed profit of 283.2 million reais ($140 million) compared with 63.2 million reais a year earlier.
The group said its net non-operating, financial performance improved, reversing a loss of 393.6 million reais in the year-earlier quarter to a profit of 1.6 million reais this quarter.
The company’s revenues from petroleum-based fuels also improved in the quarter. Revenues from ethanol sales and production, however, fell.
The fiscal year for Brazilian sugar cane companies runs from April 1, with the beginning of cane harvesting and crushing. Cosan’s 2013 year will end on March 31, 2013.
The group’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) - a measure of underlying profit that is closely watched by analysts - rose 6 percent to 719.4 million reais in the quarter from a year earlier.
Improved operational revenues from the company’s fuels distribution business more than offset the modest fall in revenues in its sugar, ethanol and bioenergy production businesses from the same quarter a year ago.
Brazil’s sugar and ethanol industry has suffered weak results since a 2008 U.S. banking crisis and world recession choked off credit and demand and pushed many heavily indebted mills to the brink of bankruptcy.
Export prices for ethanol improved over the past year to help offset weak performance in sales on the domestic biofuels market, the company’s earnings report showed.
Brazil’s domestic ethanol industry has struggled over the past couple of years due to rising costs and a government policy to hold down retail fuel prices, but the growing U.S. mandate for biofuels has opened new demand for Brazilian ethanol abroad.
Brazilian ethanol exports should jump 40 percent this year to 2.5 billion liters.