Agrana Drops After Bioethanol Plant Delayed by Grain Prices

Agrana Beteiligungs AG (AGR), an Austrian sugar and fruit processor, fell the most in seven weeks in Vienna trading after delaying the start of a bioethanol plant. Other biofuel companies tracked the loss.

The company probably won't start production until spring 2008, instead of October as previously scheduled, because of higher prices for wheat and corn, Vienna-based Agrana said in a statement today. German competitor Verbio Vereinigte BioEnergie AG said last week that it suspended ethanol production at its Schwedt plant on flagging demand.

Agrana shares dropped as much as 4.19 euros, or 5.8 percent, to 68.01 euros, the steepest drop compared with intraday moves since July 30. The stock was trading down 1.997 euros at 70.23 euros as of 9:41 a.m. in Vienna, valuing the company at 997 million euros ($1.38 billion).

Verbio sank 7 cents, or 1.7 percent, to 4.10 euros in Frankfurt. Abengoa SA (ABG/P) dropped 48 cents, or 1.8 percent, to 26.57 euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thom Rose in Frankfurt at trose5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Tilles at dtilles@bloomberg.net

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