Business performance of the segments
In the year under review, the Corn Segment generated net sales of €774.0 million, on a par with the previous year (€775.7 million); adjusted for exchange rate effects, the segment recorded an increase of 8.3%. The main contributors to the currency-adjusted growth were the South American markets of Argentina and Brazil and the Europe region. In Europe, the high-performance hybrid varieties for grain corn launched in recent years performed particularly well, enabling us to significantly strengthen our market position in this area. In Brazil, the successful commercialization of high-performance hybrid corn varieties led to a significant expansion in business volume and market share gains. In North America, sales of the AgReliant joint venture declined slightly in a challenging competitive environment. Currency effects from the devaluation of the U.S. dollar against the euro also had a significant negative impact. Segment earnings rose by 6.3% to €71.3 (67.1) million. This was due in particular to increased earnings contributions in North America and Brazil. The EBIT margin for the segment increased slightly from 8.6% to 9.2%.
Net sales in the Sugarbeet Segment rose by 6.6% to €524.3 (491.8) million as a result of the growing success of innovative KWS varieties. Demand for CONVISO® SMART continued in the year under review, with the corresponding varieties now available in 25 countries. In addition, initial sales were generated with newly launched varieties based on a new Cercospora tolerance (CR+). Re-seeding due to winter weather conditions in spring 2021 had a positive impact on sales development, particularly in France, Germany and the USA. Currency effects, mainly from the translation of the U.S. dollar and the Turkish lira, impacted sales by -6.4%; adjusted for currency effects, the segment recorded an increase of 13.0%. Segment profit increased to €174.7 million (€170.1 million), while the EBIT margin was slightly below the previous year's level at 33.3% (34.6%).
In the Cereals Segment, net sales remained at the previous year's level of €191.2 million (€191.2 million); adjusted for exchange rate effects, net sales rose by around 3%. While business with barley seed declined slightly by 5%, mainly due to weather conditions, sales of rapeseed increased (10%) as a result of higher prices. Wheat seed business also increased by around 10%. Sales of hybrid rye seed declined slightly due to lower cultivation areas in the EU and adverse currency effects. Segment profit declined to €21.3 million (€26.4 million), mainly due to higher research and development expenses. The EBIT margin was 11.1%, down on the previous year (13.8%).
Sales in the Vegetables Segment, which includes the business activities of the acquired vegetable seed company Pop Vriend Seeds, came to €58.2 million, significantly below the previous year's figure (€83.5 million). The decline was largely due to lower sales of spinach seed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to adverse currency effects. By contrast, the bean seed business recorded an increase of around 13%. Segment profit (adjusted for effects relating to the purchase price allocation for the acquisition of Pop Vriend Seeds) reached €7.9 million. Taking into account non-cash effects from the purchase price allocation of inventories measured at fair value (€-4.1 million) and amortization of acquired intangible assets (€-21.9 million), the segment result was €-18.1 million.
Net sales at the Corporate Segment were €6.0 (4.6) million. These are mainly generated by KWS farms in Germany, France and Poland. In addition, all overarching costs for the KWS Group's central functions and basic research expenses are reflected in the Corporate segment, which is why the segment's income is regularly negative. The segment's income improved significantly to €-92.0 million (€-104.6 million), mainly due to positive currency effects from financing instruments and pandemic-related cost savings.
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: