By a large majority, the shareholders of KWS SAAT AG (ISIN: DE0007074007) approved the proposal of the Supervisory Board and the Executive Board to increase the dividend to €3.00 (previous year: €2.80) per share. In doing so, the annual shareholder meeting backed KWS’s approach of an earning-related dividend payment. In the 2012/2013 fiscal year, KWS achieved an operating result (EBIT) that improved by 7% to €150.7 million. The other recommendations of the Supervisory Board and the Executive Board were also adopted almost unanimously. In addition, a forward-looking succession plan for the Executive Board Spokesman Philip von dem Bussche, leaving in December 2014, was announced at the AGM.
Sales and earnings set to rise significantly – equity increasing
KWS recorded growth in all product segments in the 2012/2013 fiscal year. Sales increased by 16.3% to €1.147 billion. The improved operating result (EBIT)—increased by 7% to €150.7 million—resulted in an EBIT margin of 13.1%. An increase in the tax rate to 35% slightly reduced the annual net income to €91.3 million (previous year: €94.4 million). This was due to out-of-period tax expenses and strong earnings growth in countries with higher tax rates. Equity increased to €667.5 (603.1) million in the balance sheet. With a simultaneous increase in the balance sheet total, the equity ratio remained stable at 55.0% (55.2%).
Investments secure future growth of the KWS Group
KWS will continue to expand its research and breeding activities in the 2013/2014 fiscal year, thereby continuing to secure its innovative strength and competitiveness for future growth. The Executive Board is planning a further increase in expenditure on product development and the expansion of the global sales organization in the current fiscal year. Almost €160 million (previous year: €141 million) is planned for product development alone. KWS intends to invest around €100 million in tangible assets in the current fiscal year. The focus is on expanding production capacity to be able to handle future growth.
Outlook: KWS sees moderate sales growth in 2013/2014
KWS started the 2013/2014 fiscal year with slightly reduced sales in the first quarter. Nevertheless, the Executive Board expects further growth in sales for the full fiscal year. The planned growth is expected to be achieved entirely in the corn segment, with North and South America as well as Eastern and Southeastern Europe identified as the growth regions. From today’s perspective, the company expects sales to increase by 5% in the full 2013/2014 year to around €1.2 billion (€1.147 billion) and an EBIT margin of 11.5% (13.1%).
Changes in the KWS Executive Board in 2014
The Chair of the Supervisory Board, Dr. Andreas J. Büchting, announced the following changes to the KWS Executive Board at the annual shareholder meeting:
Executive Board spokesman Philip von dem Bussche will retire from the KWS SAAT SE Executive Board at the end of 2014 at 65 years of age. Dr. Hagen Duenbostel—CFO until mid 2013 and now responsible for the corn segment—will take over the function of spokesman on January 1, 2015, following the departure of Philip von dem Bussche.
With effect from October 1, 2014, the Supervisory Board has appointed Dr. Peter Hofmann to the Executive Board of KWS. He assumes the responsibilities of Philip von dem Bussche for the sugarbeet and cereals product segments, as well as for corporate marketing. 53-year-old graduate, agricultural engineer Hofmann has been working for KWS for 19 years and has been responsible for the operational business in the sugarbeet segment since 2005.