KWS’ Annual Shareholders’ Meeting ratifies proposed dividend

Einbeck, December 15, 2016

Shareholders adopt a dividend of €3.00 a share – New independent auditor appointed – Further profit and loss transfer agreements adopted – Change on the Supervisory Board – Guidance confirmed

KWS SAAT SE (ISIN: DE0007074007) today ended its 2016 Annual Shareholders’ Meeting following approval by a clear majority of all items on the agenda. The shareholders endorsed the proposal by the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board and adopted a dividend of €3.00 a share. The Annual Shareholders’ Meeting also elected Dr. Marie Theres Schnell as representative of the Arend Oetker family to the Supervisory Board, likewise by a large majority. In addition, Ernst & Young GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft was appointed as the KWS Group’s new independent auditor..

At the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, which was held at the company’s headquarters in Einbeck, the Executive Board explained the company’s performance and developments in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, to more than 700 shareholders. KWS grew its net sales by 5.2% to around €1,037 million. EBIT was €112.8 million, giving an EBIT margin of 10.9%. As a result, the company achieved its medium-term targets for increasing net sales and earnings, despite the fact that general conditions in the agricultural industry remained difficult.

New independent auditor appointed

An extensive tendering process was conducted in 2016 in accordance with the provisions of the EU regulation on independent auditors. The company Ernst & Young GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft was chosen from among several bidders following intensive discussion and assessment and proposed to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, which appointed it by a clear majority. It thus replaces Deloitte GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungs¬gesellschaft, which had acted as our independent auditor for many years.

Election of a new member of the Supervisory Board

As already announced, Dr. Arend Oetker resigned his seat on KWS’ Supervisory Board effective at the end of the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting. His daughter, Dr. Marie Theres Schnell, who has now assumed entrepreneurial responsibility for the family stake in KWS in keeping with planned succession, was nominated as the representative of the Oetker family for the vacant post by the nominating committee and confirmed as the new member of the Supervisory Board by a clear majority. In addition, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board informed the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting that Arend Oetker had been made an honorary member of the Supervisory Board in recognition of his great service and achievements for KWS.

Profit and loss transfer agreements adopted

The Annual Shareholders’ Meeting likewise voted to approve the profit and loss transfer agreements between KWS SAAT SE and five subsidiaries. In the future, the companies in question will pay their profits, as determined on the basis of the German Commercial Code regulations, to KWS SAAT SE. The purpose of the agreements is to safeguard KWS’ economic success, enable further organic growth and allow group-related advantages to be leveraged.

Guidance: annual targets unchanged

As reported at the end of November, the KWS Group significantly grew its net sales year on year by 13.7% in the first quarter of 2016/2017. EBIT rose by 38.7% to € –28.8 million. The Executive Board still expects net sales to increase by under 5% and to post an EBIT margin of 10.0% to 10.5% at the end of fiscal 2016/2017. Capital spending will be around €100 million as a result of the continued expansion of production plants and research & development capacities.

About KWS*
KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies. In fiscal 2015/16, 4,850 employees in 70 countries generated net sales of € 1.037 million and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of € 113 million. A company with a tradition of family ownership, KWS has operated independently for 160 years. It focuses on plant breeding and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugarbeet, cereals, rapeseed and sunflowers. KWS uses leading-edge plant breeding methods to continuously improve yield and resistance to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. To that end, the company invested € 182 million last fiscal year in research & development, 17 percent of its net sales.. For more information: Follow us on Twitter® at

*All figures excluding the joint ventures AGRELIANT GENETICS LLC., AGRELIANT GENETICS INC. and KENFENG – KWS SEEDS CO., LTD.


Wolf-Gebhard von der Wense
Wolf-Gebhard von der Wense
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