Razgulyai 2007 Earnings Jump 36%

Grain and sugar producer Razgulyai Group said Thursday that full-year earnings rose 36 percent, buoyed by a jump in international prices for agricultural commodities.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization were 4.4 billion rubles ($179 million), compared with 3.2 billion rubles a year earlier, Razgulyai said in a statement on its web site. Sales rose 38 percent to 31.7 billion rubles. Debt climbed 14 percent to 11.5 billion rubles.

The country's wheat prices doubled last year, while domestic sugar prices gained 15 percent, Razgulyai said. Expectations for even higher prices this year are spurring more production, the company said. Wheat traded in Chicago, a global benchmark, rose to a record high on Feb. 11.

Razgulyai said in October that it planned to ship most of the season's wheat before mid-January to avoid the threat of high export duties on the grain.