Oil report

France fines sugar group Tereos 390,000 euros for late payments

PARIS, Sept 17 (Reuters) - France has fined French sugar and ethanol producer Tereos 390,000 euros ($459,000) for late payments to suppliers, according to a filing published by a state watchdog.

Tereos, the world’s second-largest sugar producer by volume, has been grappling with low prices following the end of European sugar quotas in 2017, which has hit EU sugar makers’ results for several years and driven up the company’s debt levels.

In March, the group asked regular suppliers for price reductions to help it cope with difficult economic circumstances, letters seen by Reuters showed.

France’s Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF), which regularly fines companies for late payments, published the penalty on its website.

It said the actions which led to the fine took place before the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

A Tereos representative said the company could not immediately provide a comment.

The fine levied on Tereos was the second highest imposed by the DGCCRF on any company this year for late payments, according to a list here published on the regulator's website.

The watchdog has levied 36 fines on companies for late payments for suppliers in the past 12 months, the list showed. The companies fined have included French bluechip companies and French units of major multinationals.

$1 = 0.8494 euros Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Christian Lowe and Pravin Char