Business development by segment
The Corn segment again recorded strong growth in the year under review, with sales rising by 21% to 935.4 (774.0) million. €. This was mainly due to the South America region, where sales increased by more than 70%. In Europe, KWS achieved sales growth of around 7% in a highly competitive environment. Sales of the US joint venture AgReliant increased by around 3% in local currency, mainly due to higher sales volumes for soybean seeds. Significantly higher production costs and negative effects of the Ukraine war weighed on the segment result, which decreased to €57.2 (71.3) million. In addition, lower earnings contributions from the AgReliant joint venture had a negative impact. The segment's EBIT margin fell from 9.2% to 6.1%.
Sales in the Sugarbeet segment rose significantly by 12.2% to €588.4 (524.3) million due to the great success of innovative KWS varieties. KWS thus grew faster than the market and thus once again underpinned its leading global market position for sugarbeet seeds. Strong demand for CONVISO® SMART – an innovative weed control system – was once again a driver of growth in the past financial year. The corresponding varieties are now available in 25 countries and accounted for a significant share of segment sales of around 19%. Another growth driver was the new varieties with Cercospora tolerance (CR+), which already recorded very strong demand in the second year of the market launch. Against the background of the positive sales development, the segment result also rose significantly to €195.0 (174.7) million. At 33.1% (33.3%), the EBIT margin was on a par with the previous year.
In the Cereals segment, sales rose significantly by 13.2% to € 216.4 (191.62) million. The main driver of this positive sales development was the strong growth in rapeseed. In particular, favorable market conditions and improved performance of the variety portfolio led to an increase of 42%. The rye seed business also developed very well with an increase of 4%, especially in Germany. The rye seed business accounted for a significant share of segment sales at around 40%. Sales of wheat seed increased by around 7% due to positive market conditions, while sales of barley seed were slightly below the previous year's level. Against the background of the pleasing sales development, the segment result rose to
€29.5 (21.3) million. The EBIT margin increased to 13.6% and was thus significantly higher than in the previous year (11.1%).
Sales in the Vegetables segment declined to € 54.3 (58.2) million in the year under review. Spinach seed once again accounted for the largest share of the segment's sales at just under 60%. While sales in the USA recovered slightly, the segment recorded declining demand in Europe and Asia. In addition, poor weather conditions during seed propagation in New Zealand led to lower product availability. The bean seed business, which accounts for around 27% of sales, was robust compared to the previous year. As a result of the course of business and the expansion of breeding activities, the segment result fell slightly to
€–18.5 (–18.1) million.
Sales in the Corporate segment amounted to € 8.3 (6.0) million. The main driver of this development was in particular a price-related increase in sales at KWS' farms in Germany, France and Poland. In the Corporate segment , all overarching costs for the KWS Group's central functions as well as research expenses are reflected, which is why the segment result is regularly negative. The segment result fell to € –97.5 (–92.0) million in the prior-year period, mainly due to higher research expenses and positive effects from financing instruments.
Outlook for the financial year 2022/2023
The KWS Group is expected to achieve sales growth of 7 to 9 % (on a comparable basis, excluding currency and portfolio effects) with an EBIT margin of between 10 % and 11 %. The research & development quota should be in a range of 18 to 20%.
For the corn, sugar beet, cereals and vegetables product segments, a significant increase in sales is forecast with an EBIT margin at the previous year's level. Based on the planned cost development, the company expects EBIT of around € –110.0 million for the Corporate segment.