KWS reports on successful fiscal year 2021/2022 and expects further growth

Einbeck, 27 September 2022

  • Sales increased significantly by more than 17% to EUR 1.54 billion
  • Strong growth of EBITDA (+9%) and EBIT (+13%)
  • Net income and earnings per share at previous year's level
  • Dividend proposal 2022: €0.80 (0.80) per share
  • Forecast 2022/2023 (KWS Group):
    Sales increase of 7 – 9%, EBIT margin: 10 – 11%, R&D ratio: 18 – 20%

"Our strong growth in the past fiscal year once again underscores the attractiveness and resilience of our business model as an innovative seed company," commented Eva Kienle, CFO of KWS. "Despite considerable burdens from inflation-related cost increases, we were able to significantly increase our operating result. In the new financial year, we want to continue to grow and at the same time invest at a high level in research and development as a driver of sustainable innovation. In view of the existing geopolitical risks, increasing weather extremes and highly inflationary developments, however, we anticipate that the framework conditions for KWS will remain challenging."

Business development 2021/2022

The KWS Group's sales rose significantly by 17.5% to €1,539.5 (1,310.2) million. Currency-related effects had only a minor overall impact on sales. EBITDA improved by 9.3% to €252.4 (230.9) million. The operating result (EBIT) rose by 13.2% to €155.1 (137.0) million. The EBIT margin reached 10.1% (10.5%). Net income of €107.8 (110.6) million and earnings per share of €3.27 (3.35) reached the previous year's level.

Overview of the key figures

in € millions 2021/2022 2020/2021 +/-
Net sales 1,539.5 1,310.2 17.5 %
EBITDA 252.4 230.9 9.3 %
EBIT 155.1 137.0 13.2 %
Net financial result -16.9 5.2 -
Result of ordinary activities 138.1 142.2 -2.9 %
Income taxes 30.4 31.6 -3.8 %
Net income for the year 107.8 110.6 -2.6 %
Earnings per share (in €) 3.27 3.35 -2.6 %

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.

Planned appropriation of profits: dividend of € 0.80 per share

Due to the good business development, the Executive Board and Supervisory Board will propose to the Annual General Meeting on December 6, 2022 the distribution of a dividend of € 0.80 (0.80) per share for the financial year 2021/2022. This would mean that €26.4 (26.4) million would be distributed to the shareholders of KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA. This would correspond to a payout ratio of 24.5% (23.9%), with which KWS would remain within the scope of its dividend policy of a dividend payment of 20 to 25% of the KWS Group's net income, which is geared to the company's profitability.

Election proposals for the future Supervisory Board of KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA

The Annual Shareholders' Meeting of KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA will elect a new Supervisory Board following the regular cycle on December 6, 2022. As already announced last year, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA and general partner KWS SE, Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Andreas J. Büchting, will resign from his position as planned at the end of his term of office. After 15 years of service, Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser will also leave the Supervisory Board of KWS. Vice Chairwoman, Dr. Marie Th. Schnell, and the current Chairman of the Audit Committee, Victor W. Balli, will stand for re-election. The Supervisory Board will recommend Philip Freiherr von dem Bussche (former Spokesman of the Executive Board of KWS) and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Stefan W. Hell (Director at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Natural Sciences in Göttingen and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg) for election to the Board at the Annual Shareholders' Meeting. It is intended that Philip Freiherr von dem Bussche will take over as Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

Annual Press Conference and Analyst Call

On the occasion of the publication of the annual financial statements 2021/2022, the annual press conference with Dr. Hagen Duenbostel (CEO) and Eva Kienle (CFO) will take place today in Frankfurt/Main from 10:00 a.m. CEST.

A conference call with Eva Kienle for analysts and investors will take place at 14:00 CEST. Further details can be found here.

The Annual Report 2021/2022 is available for download at Investor relations - Corporate - KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA.

About KWS*

KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies. Over 5,000 employees* in more than 70 countries generated net sales of around €1.5 billion in fiscal 2021/2022. A company with a tradition of family ownership, KWS has operated independently for 165 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 €285 million last fiscal year in research and development.

*excl. seasonal workforce

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