KWS with convincing earnings growth after nine months of 2022/2023

Einbeck, May 11, 2023

  • Sales after nine months up by 25% – high growth dynamics in all product segments
  • Operating result (EBIT) grows disproportionately by around 40%
  • Net sales growth now expected at the upper end of the previous range (13 to 15%), EBIT forecast raised (see announcement of May 3, 2023)

"The high market acceptance of our product innovations in this year's sowing campaign underscores again the agronomic added value that KWS achieves with modern plant breeding for more sustainable agriculture," commented Eva Kienle, CFO of KWS. “Thanks to the strong sales growth, we can compensate for the effects of the current cost inflation and continue to invest in research and development at a high level. For the final quarter, we assume that the positive development will continue and are therefore raising our annual forecasts.”

Business performance in the first nine month of 2022/2023

The KWS Group’s net sales in the first nine months of fiscal 2022/2023 rose by 24.7% to €1,514.0 (1,213.7) million. Ex-change rate influences only had a slight impact on net sales all in all. The KWS Group’s key indicators for operating income rose sharply year on year due to the positive business performance. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by 31.8% to €334.8 (254.0) million and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by 40.5% to €261.2 (185.9) million. However, net financial income/expenses dropped significantly to € –18.7 (–0.8) million. Factors in that were that the inter-est result declined to € –24.5 (–8.2) million as a result of rising interest expenses and that contributions to earnings from the equity-accounted joint ventures fell to €4.9 (9.0) million. Income taxes totaled €64.3 (50.0) million. That gave earnings after taxes of €178.2 (135.2) million or €5.40 (4.10) per share. The free cash flow fell to € –93.4 (–84.0) million as a result of the growth-driven increase in working capital.

Overview of the key figures

in € millions
9M 2022/23 9M 2021/22 +/-
Net sales
1.514.0 1.213.7 24.7 %
EBITDA 334.8 254.0 31.8 %
EBIT 261.2 185.9 40.5 %
Net financial income/expenses -18.7 -0.8 -
Earnings before taxes 242.5 185.2 30.9 %
Income taxes 64.3 50.0 28.6 %
Earnings after taxes 178.2 135.2 31.8 %
Earnings per share in € 5.40 4.10 31.8 %

Business performance of the segments

The Corn Segment posted a sharp increase in net sales of around 25% to €900.5 (723.2) million due to strong growth in its core markets of Europe and Brazil. In Europe, net sales increased by around 21%, mainly due to higher market share and better prices. Higher sales prices and positive exchange rate effects resulted in an increase in net sales of around 37% in Brazil. By contrast, our U.S. joint venture AgReliant recorded a decline in its business activities and thus performed worse than expected. The segment result improved significantly to € 92.6 (72.6) million as a result of the overall positive business development.

Net sales in the Sugarbeet Segment rose sharply by around 25% to €551.1 (441.4) million in the period under review. This increase was mainly attributable to growth in Central and Eastern Europe and in the U.S. The industry is currently benefiting from a good price level for raw sugar. Once again, the sustainable product innovations CONVISO® SMART and CR+ made a noticeable contribution to business success, accounting for around 40% (28%) of net sales. Against a backdrop of increasing regulation of pesticides and rising disease pressure as a result of climate change, these innovations make an important contribution to achieving stable beet yields with less use of pesticides. Despite burden on earnings from destruction of inventories as a result of changes in the regulatory framework the segment’s income was at €194.7 and thus well above the previous year’s figure of €162.4 million.

Net sales in the Cereals Segment in the first nine months rose sharply to €240.9 (200.2) million, or by around 20%, mainly due to buoyant growth in oilseed rape, wheat and rye seed. The Cereals Segment also achieved high growth rates with its catch crops, an area with a highly promising future, and with its organic seeds. In addition, business with sorghum seed in Brazil was very pleasing. The segment’s income rose to €72.0 (53.5) million on the back of the strong growth in net sales and an improved product mix.

Net sales at the Vegetables Segment rose in the first nine months by 32% to €45.7 (34.5) million. This growth is mainly attributable to an improved business with spinach seed in the U.S. and China. In addition, there was an increase in sales of bean seed. The segment’s income improved to € –9.5 (–15.3) million as a result of the course of business and lower effects from the purchase price allocation as part of company acquisitions. The segment’s income takes into account the planned increase in R&D expenditure of €10.8 (7.1) million, which is mainly earmarked for the establishment of breeding programs for new types of vegetables.

Net sales in the Corporate Segment totaled €7.2 (7.2) million. They are mainly generated from our farms. Since all cross-segment costs for the KWS Group’s central functions and research expenditure that cannot be allocated to the segments are charged to the Corporate Segment, its income is usually negative. The segment’s income fell to € –83.0 (–77.8) million, in particular due to higher R&D expenditure.

Outlook for the 2022/2023 financial year

In view of this pleasing business performance in the first nine months, the Executive Board raised its guidance for the 2022/2023 fiscal year according to the publication of insider information in accordance with Art. 17 of Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014 on May 3, 2023. KWS now assumes that it will achieve net sales growth at the upper end of the previous range of 13% to 15% (on a comparable basis, excluding exchange rate and portfolio effects). The EBIT margin is expected to be 11% to 12% (previously: 10% to 11%) as a result of the significant increase in operating income in the period under review. As a result, EBIT for the 2022/2023 financial year is expected to be significantly higher than in the previous year (EUR 155.1 million). R&D intensity is now expected to be in the range of 18% to 19%. Despite an anticipated sharp decline in net financial income/expenses, net income for the year will likely be significantly above the previous year’s level (€107.8 million).

The Executive Board still expects sharp growth in net sales (on a comparable basis) for KWS’ product segments. Slightly higher EBIT margins are assumed in the Sugarbeet, Cereals and Vegetables Segments and a slight decline in the EBIT margin for the Corn Segment.

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

More information:
Follow us on Twitter® at

Your contact persons

Peter Vogt
Peter Vogt
Head of Investor Relations
Send e-mail
Martin Heistermann, Contact of Investor Relations
Martin Heistermann
Senior Investor Relations Manager
Send e-mail
Sina Barnkothe-Seekamp
Sina Barnkothe-Seekamp
Lead of External Communications
Send e-mail