The shareholders of KWS SAAT AG (ISIN: DE0007074007) approved all proposals of the Supervisory Board and Management Board by a large majority today at the regular annual shareholder meeting in Einbeck. Following on from the strong earnings performance of the KWS Group, this year’s dividend was raised by 22% to €2.80 per share. Andreas J. Büchting, Arend Oetker, Hubertus von Baumbach and Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser were re-elected to the Supervisory Board for a new term of office. At the regular elections, four out of a total of six members of the Supervisory Board were appointed at the annual shareholder meeting. The two employee representatives of the Supervisory Board, Jürgen Bolduan and Dr. Berthold Niehoff, had already been selected by the KWS workforce for the next five years prior to the annual shareholder meeting. The shareholders approved the Annual financial accounts for 2011/2012, expressed their confidence almost unanimously, and welcomed the successful growth strategy.
Welcome growth in sales and earnings
In the 2011/2012 fiscal year, sales in the KWS Group increased by 15.3% to €986.3 million. This development benefited from high world prices for agricultural commodities. EBIT improved by 20.8% to €140.9 million and the EBIT margin reached 14.3%. The annual profit margin benefited from the reduced tax rate of the Group of just over 30% and rose by 29.4% to €94.4 million. In order to further improve the competitiveness of the KWS Group, research and development expenses were increased as planned by 11.5% to €126.6 million.
Dynamics in all product segments
The continued high market momentum in North America and Europe boosted business in the main corn segment, which accounted for around 58% of total revenues in 2011/2012. In order to participate in the high agricultural commodity prices, farmers had mainly used high-quality seed and expanded acreage for grain corn. Good development in the sugarbeet segment (revenue: 32%). This was mainly due to the strong North American business and the high sales of genetically modified sugarbeet varieties that were predominantly sown there. The cereal business (revenue: 9.5%) significantly increased. Once again the hybrid rye varieties enjoyed great demand.
Outlook: KWS continues its operational growth
KWS started the 2012/2013 fiscal year with a significant increase in sales in the first quarter. About one-third of the increase came from new production and distribution activities in Brazil. At the annual shareholder meeting, CFO Dr. Hagen Duenbostel confirmed the forecast for the current fiscal year: “We expect an increase in revenues in the KWS group of around 10%. Following the very high EBIT margin of 14.3% in the previous year, we are aiming for a margin of more than 11%, despite cost increases for product development and the expansion of sales and production activities in the current reporting period.”