Dr. Andreas J. Büchting, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA, welcomed shareholders to this afternoon’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, which was held as a virtual event due to the coronavirus. The Executive Board described the company’s economic performance in the past fiscal year 2019/2020. The KWS Group achieved a 15% increase in net sales to €1.3 billion. Operating income (EBITDA) rose by around 13% to €225.5 million, while earnings per share were €2.89. The Executive and Supervisory Boards thanked all employees for their dedication and successful efforts in the face of the challenging conditions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic: “Thanks to their great commitment, we managed to keep business up and running without restrictions and supply farmers in time for their sowing season,” emphasized Andreas J. Büchting.
In view of the positive operating performance, the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting endorsed the proposal by the Executive and Supervisory Boards and adopted a resolution to pay out a higher dividend of €0.70 (0.67). €23.1 (22.1) million will thus be distributed to the shareholders of KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA. That corresponds to a dividend payout ratio of 24.3% (21.3%), once again in line with the KWS Group’s earnings-oriented policy of paying a dividend of 20% to 25% of its net income.
Outlook for fiscal 2020/2021 confirmed – Prospects are highly promising
The Executive Board also dealt with the company’s current business performance (in the first quarter of 2020/2021) in its comments and confirmed the guidance for the year as a whole. The Executive Board still anticipates that the KWS Group will generate net sales at the level of the previous year (€1.3 billion). Assuming that net sales are stable, the EBIT margin is expected to be in the range between 11% and 13% (after adjustment for the noncash effects as part of the purchase price allocation for the acquisition of Pop Vriend Seeds).
The company’s medium- and long-term prospects are also highly promising. “Plant breeding will provide key answers to the increasingly pressing questions of how to enable efficient, yet sustainable agriculture. We are economically well-positioned and have a clear focus on innovation and the use of state-of-the-art technologies. We therefore look optimistically to the tasks lying ahead,” said Chief Executive Officer Dr. Hagen Duenbostel.
Appointment of Dr. Peter Hofmann extended until 2024
Andreas J. Büchting also informed the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting that the appointment of Dr. Peter Hofmann as a member of the Executive Board of the personally liable partner KWS SE had been extended to June 30, 2024. Hofmann is in charge of Sugarbeet, Corn Europe, and Marketing & Communications.