KWS SAAT AG – Continued dynamic growth expected (2012-12-13)
Annual Shareholders’ Meeting approves dividend of €2.80 a share – Operational growth to continue in 2012/2013
At today’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in Einbeck, the shareholders of KWS SAAT AG (ISIN: DE0007074007) adopted all resolutions as proposed by the Supervisory Board and the Executive Board by a large majority. In line with the strong profit generated by the KWS Group, this year’s dividend was raised by 22% to €2.80 a share. Andreas J. Büchting, Arend Oetker, Hubertus von Baumbach and Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser were elected to a further term on the Supervisory Board. In the scheduled new elections, four of the six members of the Supervisory Board were to be appointed by the Shareholders’ Meeting. The two employee representatives on the Supervisory Board, Jürgen Bolduan and Dr. Berthold Niehoff, had already been elected by KWS’ workforce for the next five years prior to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting. The shareholders approved the 2011/2012 annual financial statements, expressed their confidence in the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board almost unanimously and welcomed the successful growth strategy.
Positive growth in net sales and income
Net sales at the KWS Group rose by 15.3% to €986.3 million in fiscal 2011/2012. This was aided by high prices for agricultural raw materials worldwide. EBIT improved by 20.8% to €140.9 million and the EBIT margin reached 14.3%. Net income for the year benefited from a fall in the tax rate at the Group to just over 30%, rising by 29.4% to €94.4 million. To enable the KWS Group to keep on improving its competitiveness, research & development expenditure was increased as planned by 11.5% to €126.6 million.
Dynamic strength in all product segments
The continuing high level of dynamic strength in the North American and European markets boosted business in the company’s main segment, Corn, which accounted for around 58% of total revenue in 2011/2012. As a result of the high prices for agricultural raw materials, farmers mainly used quality seed and further increased the area used to grow grain corn. The good performance of the Sugarbeet Segment (share of net sales: 32%) is mainly attributable to strong business in North America and high sales volumes there, predominantly with genetically improved sugarbeet varieties. Cereals business (share of net sales: 9.5%) also increased sharply. One positive aspect here was the great demand for hybrid rye varieties.
Outlook: KWS continues operational growth
KWS has started fiscal year 2012/2013 with a sharp increase in net sales in the first quarter. Around a third of the growth came from the new production and distribution operations in Brazil. At the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, Chief Financial Officer Dr. Hagen Duenbostel confirmed the forecast for the current fiscal year: “We expect the KWS Group to grow its net sales by approximately 10%. After the very high EBIT margin of 14.3% in the past year, our target is a margin of just over 11%, despite the cost increases for product development and expansion of our distribution and production activities in the current reporting period.”
Wolf-Gebhard von der Wense
Head of External Public Relations