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Imperial Sugar fiscal 2nd-quarter loss widens

Imperial Sugar Co. said Monday that its second-quarter loss widened as the company suffered derivatives setbacks and problems at a refinery.

The company uses derivative investments to hedge against volatility in raw sugar prices, but those contracts generated losses of $24.8 million when the price of raw sugar declined in the quarter.

Imperial's margins were hurt also by reduced performance at the Port Wentworth, Ga., refinery, which was heavily damaged in a 2008 explosion that killed 14 workers.

The company said the refinery was returning to normal operations at a slower pace than expected, with production hitting 80 percent of normal periods, up from 60 percent of normal in the previous quarter.

The company said it lost $33.3 million, or $2.82 per share, for the quarter ended March 31. That compares with a loss of $12.6 million, or $1.07 per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $208.9 million from $124.3 million due to in part to higher production.

Shares of Imperial Sugar fell $1.70, or 11.5 percent, to $13.05 in afternoon trading. The stock has ranged from $7.05 to $18.52 over the past year.