Austrian sugar, starch and processed fruits manufacturer Agrana Beteiligungs-Ag (AGR.VI) Friday said it expects its operating profit in the current fiscal year to decrease significantly on the year, due to persistent cost increases and an unsatisfactory price situation.

    In fiscal-year 2008, which ended Feb. 29, Agrana recorded an operating profit of EUR111.4 million on sales of EUR1.89 billion.

    Earnings will be hampered by subdued volume sales of starch products and fruit juice concentrates, and the uncertain price trend in the second half of the current fiscal year, Agrana said in a statement issued after its annual general meeting Friday.