KWS annual shareholder meeting confirms dividend proposal

Einbeck, December 17, 2015

Shareholders approve a dividend of €3.00 per share - Approval of the profit transfer agreement with KWS LOCHOW GMBH - Executive Board confirms double-digit EBIT return of the KWS Group at the end of the fiscal year, despite a difficult economic environment.

KWS_pressemeldung_2015_12_17_Hauptversammlung_der_KWS_SAAT_SE.png

At today’s annual shareholder meeting of KWS SAAT SE (ISIN: DE0007074007), all agenda items were approved by a large majority. With the annual profit margin slightly lower at 8.5% (previous year: 8.7%), the dividend remains at the previous year’s level of €3.00 per share. In addition, shareholders confirm the profit transfer agreement with KWS LOCHOW GMBH. The goal of a double-digit EBIT return, combined with sales growth, remains unchanged, even if the agricultural market continues to be difficult.

Shareholders welcome the successful development

Once again, implementation of the long-term corporate strategy was supported by the shareholders, who approved all agenda items at the Einbeck annual shareholder meeting, with large majorities. As already reported on October 15, KWS had increased its expenditures for research and development, as well as for sales, by a total of €44 million in the past 2014/2015 fiscal year. The research & development rate reached 17.7% (16.2%) [1]. Despite some turbulence on the agricultural markets and a difficult economic environment in important growth regions, operating business performance remained very successful. Excluding joint ventures, revenue increased by 6.8% to €986.0 (923.5) million. The operating result reached €113.4 (118.3) million, thus exceeding expectations, at the beginning of the fiscal year.

Conversion to KWS SAAT SE successfully completed

The annual shareholder meeting met for the first time after the change of legal form into a European stock corporation. Chief Financial Officer Eva Kienle looked back at the conversion completed in April 2015 and the subsequent steps. After representatives of the European workforce had agreed with the Executive Board on a model for employee involvement in March, the first European employee committee, the European Employee Committee (EEC), was elected in September. As a result, KWS is now formally positioned as a European company, and cross-border measures are generally easier.

annual shareholder meeting approves profit transfer agreement

The annual shareholder meeting approved the proposal of the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board and approved the profit transfer agreement between KWS SAAT SE and KWS LOCHOW GMBH by a large majority. In the future, KWS LOCHOW GMBH will pay its commercial profit to KWS SAAT SE. The purpose of the contract is to secure economic success, to facilitate further organic growth and to tap group-related benefits.

Forecast: Double-digit EBIT return confirmed for 2015/2016

After the first quarter of 2015/2016, the KWS Group achieved a sales increase of 11.3% compared to the same period of the previous year. Strong fluctuations in individual currencies continued to create a volatile environment. Nevertheless, planned projects for sales, and for research and development, are to be implemented throughout the year. The research & development quota is expected to be around 17%. Overall, the Executive Board continues to expect sales to increase by between 5 and 10%, with an
EBIT margin of at least 10%. Investments will once again clearly exceed €100 million, due to the continued expansion of production facilities and R&D capacities, as well as the previously reported license agreement with Syngenta.

[1] The R&D quota refers to group sales according to IFRS 11 (excluding joint ventures).

About KWS*

KWS is one of the leading plant breeding companies worldwide. 4,850 employees in 70 countries generated sales of 1.037 billion euros in the 2015/2016 fiscal year, generating earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 113 million euros. KWS has been run autonomously and independently for more than 160 years as a family-owned company. The focus is on plant breeding and the production and sale of corn, sugarbeets, cereals, rapeseed and sunflower seed. KWS uses state-of-the-art methods of plant breeding to further improve yields and resistances to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. In order to achieve this goal, the company invested EUR 182 million in the past fiscal year, accounting for 17 percent of its revenue in research and development. Further information: www.kws.de.

*All figures exclude the shares of the companies accounted for using the equity method AGRELIANT GENETICS
LLC., AGRELIANT GENETICS INC. and KENFENG – KWS SEEDS CO., LTD.