KWS completes a successful fiscal 2019/2020 – Growth in all product segments

Einbeck, October 23, 2020

Total net sales increase by 15% – EBITDA grows by around 13% – Higher dividend of €0.70 per share proposed

The KWS Group (ISIN: DE0007074007) achieved an approximately 15% increase in net sales to €1.28 billion in fiscal 2019/2020. The key figures of EBIT, net income and earnings per share were down from the previous year due to acquisition-related effects.

“Our business model has proven extremely robust in challenging times,” said Eva Kienle, Chief Financial Officer of KWS. “We grew in all product segments thanks to our innovative variety portfolio and posted a significant increase in our operating result after adjustment for acquisition-related effects. We expect stable business performance in the new fiscal year.”

Net sales rose by 15.2% to €1,282.6 (1,113.3) million in fiscal 2019/2020. All the product segments contributed to that growth. Net sales rose by 10.4% on a comparable basis (excluding exchange rate and acquisition-related effects).

The KWS Group’s EBITDA improved by 12.9% to €225.5 (199.7) million. EBIT declined to €137.4 (150.0) million as a result of non-cash effects totaling €33.0 million as part of the purchase price allocation for the acquisition of Pop Vriend Seeds. Earnings in the previous year also included a positive non-recurring effect due to the establishment of the joint venture Aardevo B.V.

Net financial income/expenses was € –7.8 million and so down from the previous year’s figure of € –5.5 million. The interest result fell to € –18.6 (–15.0) million due to higher borrowing, while net income from equity-accounted companies rose to €10.8 (9.4) million. Income taxes totaled €34.3 (40.4) million.

The result was net income for the year of €95.2 (104.0) million and earnings per share of €2.89 (3.15).

Overview of the key figures

in € millions 2019/2020 2018/2019 +/-
Net sales 1,282.6 1,113.3 15.2%
EBITDA 225.5 199.7 12.9%
EBIT 137.4 150.0 -8.4%
Net financial result -7.8 -5.5 -
Result of ordinary activities 129.5 144.5 -10.4%
Income taxes 34.3 40.4 -15.1%
Net income for the year 95.2 104.0 -8.4%
Earnings per share (in €) 2.89 3.15 -8.4%

Business performance of the segments

The Corn Segment grew its net sales by 5.0% to €775.7 (739.0) million in the year under review. That increase is mainly attributable to positive business performance in Europe and South America. In North America, net sales at our 50:50 joint venture AgReliant were on a par with the previous year, while corn and soybean seed business declined slightly as a result of turbulence on the commodity markets due to the pandemic. On the other hand, there were positive exchange rate effects from the increase in the US dollar’s value against the euro. The segment’s income rose by 15.9% to €67.1 (57.9) million. The segment’s EBIT margin rose from 7.8% to 8.6%.

Net sales at the Sugarbeet Segment rose by 6.6% to €491.8 (461.2) million. The successful launch of CONVISO® SMART, an innovative system for controlling weeds that is now available in 24 countries, and exchange rate effects related to translation to the US dollar had a positive impact in the period under review. On the other hand, there was a negative impact from the reduction in sugarbeet cultivation area in the EU27 and in Eastern Europe. The segment’s income was €170.1 million, down from the high level of the previous year (€179.6 million), in which there was the positive non-recurring effect from the establishment of the joint venture Aardevo B.V. Hence, the EBIT margin was 34.6%, as expected below the figure for the previous year (38.9%).

Net sales at the Cereals Segment rose significantly by 11.9% to €191.2 (170.8) million. Hybrid rye seed business made a major contribution to that, largely on the back of good market conditions, rye’s relatively stable yield in dry years and much higher demand for it as feed. While revenue from wheat and barley seed was at the level of the previous year, rapeseed seed was down slightly from the previous year, in particular due to adverse weather conditions at the time of sowing. The segment’s income increased by around 15% to €26.4 (23.0) million, while the EBIT margin was 13.8%, slightly up over the previous year (13.5%).

The Vegetables Segment, which includes the business activities of the vegetable seed producer Pop Vriend Seeds acquired effective July 1, 2019, made a significant contribution of €83.5 million to the KWS Group’s increase in net sales. Its business in the year under review benefited from large demand for spinach seed in North America. Moreover, sales of spinach and bean seed were increasingly buoyant in Europe. The segment’s income (before acquisition-related effects) was €25.5 million. Including noncash effects as part of the purchase price allocation from the sale of inventories that were taken over and remeasured at fair value (€ –11.1 million) and from amortization of intangible assets (€ –21.9 million), the segment’s income was € –7.5 million.

Net sales at the Corporate Segment were €4.6 (3.9) million. They are mainly generated from KWS’ farms. Since all cross-segment costs for the KWS Group’s central functions and basic research expenditure are charged to the Corporate Segment, its income is usually negative. The segment’s EBIT was € –104.9 million and so below the previous year’s figure (€ –97.1 million) due to extra expenditure as part of our reorganization project GLOBE, higher expenses for central R&D activities, and lower income from instruments for hedging foreign currency risks.

The difference from the KWS Group’s statement of comprehensive income and segment reporting is due to the requirements of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) and is summarized for the key indicators of net sales and EBIT in the reconciliation table below:

Reconciliation table

in € millions Segments Reconciliation KWS Group1
Net sales 1,546.8 -264.3 1,282.6
EBIT 151.3 -14.0 137.4

1 Excluding the shares of the equity-accounted companies AGRELIANT GENETICS LLC., AGRELIANT GENETICS INC. and KENFENG – KWS SEEDS CO., LTD.

Capital spending

KWS’ capital spending in the year under review was consistent with its long-term growth plans and focused on erecting and expanding production, research and development capacities. The main emphasis of the capital spending was on expanding production and processing plants for sugarbeet seed in Germany and France and for corn seed in Brazil and Argentina. In addition, a new laboratory building at Einbeck was completed. Total capital spending in fiscal 2019/2020 was €108.0 (96.6) million.

Planned appropriation of profits: Higher dividend of €0.70 per share

In view of the company’s pleasing operating performance, the Executive and Supervisory Boards will propose a dividend of €0.70 (0.67) per share for fiscal year 2019/2020 to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on December 16, 2020. €23.1 (22.1) million would thus be distributed to KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA’s shareholders. That would correspond 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.

Forecast for the 2020/2021 fiscal year

The KWS Group’s economic performance will probably be impacted by the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic in fiscal 2020/2021. Assuming that cultivation area remains stable or declines slightly, the Executive Board therefore assumes subdued growth in fiscal 2020/2021. The Executive Board anticipates that the KWS Group will generate net sales at the level of the previous year (€1,282.6 million). Assuming that net sales are stable, the EBIT margin is expected to be in the range between 11% and 13% (after adjustment for the non-cash effects as part of the purchase price allocation for the acquisition of Pop Vriend Seeds).

The Annual Report and the Sustainability Report can be downloaded on the Internet at

About KWS*
KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies. More than 5,700 employees in 70 countries generated net sales of around €1.3 billion in fiscal 2019/2020. A company with a tradition of family ownership, KWS has operated independently for more than 160 years. It focuses on plant breeding and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugarbeet, cereals, vegetables, rapeseed and sunflowers. KWS uses leading-edge plant breeding methods to continuously improve yield for farmers and plants’ resistance to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. To that end, the company invested more than €200 million last fiscal year in research and development.

* All figures excluding the shares of the equity-accounted companies AGRELIANT GENETICS LLC., AGRELIANT GENETICS INC. and KENFENG – KWS SEEDS CO., LTD.

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