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Start of new financial year 2009: Balanced Portfolio Underpins the Strength of K+S

K+S Aktiengesellschaft / Start of new financial year 2009: Balanced Portfolio Underpins the Strength of K+S

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shares/balance/stock market/finances/companies/Q1 2009

Kassel (euro adhoc) - Kassel, 13 May 2009

Start of new financial year 2009: Balanced Portfolio Underpins the Strength of K+S

. Very good salt result due to winter of above-average severity
    . As expected, fertilizer demand down significantly year on year
    . At EUR 1,075.7 million, revenues down 11% year on year
    . Operating earnings reach EUR 174 million ((23)%)
    . Adjusted earnings per share at EUR 0.74 (Q1/2008: EUR 0.99)
    . Outlook for financial year 2009 unchanged 

"Our salt activities were able to step into the breach for the fertilizer business - this is unique compared to our competitors! Even if our first quarter revenues and earnings were unable to reach the record levels of a year ago, thanks to our balanced portfolio of fertilizers and salt, we have achieved a very satisfactory start to the current financial year," said Norbert Steiner, chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of K+S Aktiengesellschaft.

In the first quarter the de-icing salt business was very good both in Western Europe as well as on the North American east cost in view of the above-average severity and prolonged duration of the winter. On some markets, there were even delivery bottlenecks, which the K+S Group was able to exploit with its customary, large-scale production flexibility.

By contrast, the fertilizer business was characterised by very low demand for fertilizers on almost all markets in the first quarter: Although prices of agricultural products stabilised again, demand on the part of agriculture remained muted, against the background of a prolonged period of cold weather in the northern hemisphere too. In addition, there were sufficient stocks at the trade sector level and the financial crisis restricted room for manoeuvre with regard to financing for the entire distribution chain.

First quarter revenues down about 11% year on year First quarter revenues were down EUR 137.3 million on the same period last year and totalled EUR 1,075.7 million. The revenue decline attributable to volume and structural factors could not be offset by positive price and currency effects.

Salt business segment revenues almost doubled, which cushioned  the  effects  of
significant revenue declines in the fertilizer business.

About 60% of Group revenues were generated in Europe; with 34%, the  Potash  and
Magnesium  Products  business  segment  accounted  for  the  largest  share   of
revenues, followed by Nitrogen Fertilizers as well as Salt.

Operating earnings reach EUR 174.0 million ((23)%) 

EBIT I for the first quarter of 2009 reached EUR 174.0 million, after EUR 226.3 million a year ago. The five-fold increase in the earnings of the Salt business segment could markedly reduce the effects of the earnings decreases in the Potash and Magnesium Products and Nitrogen Fertilizers business segments.

Adjusted earnings before and after taxes down year on year

Adjusted earnings before taxes for the first quarter reached EUR 165.6 million representing a decline of EUR 58.4 million or about 26% on the same period last year.

Adjusted Group earnings after taxes for the first quarter were EUR 122.5 million, down just under 25% on the level of a year ago (Q1/2008: EUR 162.6 million).

For the quarter under review, adjusted earnings per share amounted to EUR 0.74 and were thus down EUR 0.25 on the figure for the same period last year (EUR 0.99).

Outlook for financial year 2009 unchanged Prices of agricultural products, which fell sharply from the middle of 2008 in the wake of the financial crisis, have stabilised again in the first quarter of 2009 on a level that meanwhile is markedly above the price levels for a good number of years, but still does not reflect the fundamental conditions on agricultural markets. Against this background, the muted demand for fertilizers can be expected to have a clear impact on the volume sold by international fertilizer producers until the middle of the year. In the second quarter, however, the stocks of fertilizers still available in the trade sector should be reduced to such an extent that a normalisation of demand for fertilizers should be able to be assumed for the second half of the year.

In the salt business, the upcoming early purchase business should benefit from the severe 2008/2009 winter. In the fourth quarter the salt business will be influenced, to a significant degree, by winter weather conditions, too. In this respect, K+S assumes that sales will be on their average level for many years in the case of both the European and North American markets.

On the basis of the price level for potash and magnesium products evident in the first quarter, K+S assumes a tangibly higher average price level for 2009 as a whole compared with the previous year. However, K+S expects significantly lower sales, which will almost offset the aforementioned price effect. While the revenues of the Nitrogen Fertilizers business segment should be down significantly, mainly in view of substantial price decreases, K+S expects significantly higher revenues for the Salt business sector because of the good start for the de-icing salt business in the new year.

Overall, revenues of the K+S Group in 2009 should be down markedly on the previous year. The revenue forecast assumes an average US dollar exchange rate for 2009 of about 1.30 USD/EUR (2008: 1.47 USD/EUR).

In 2009, the costs of the K+S Group should decrease only slightly in comparison to the previous year: As far as personnel expenses are concerned, the Company expects that the additional costs arising from the most recent collective agreement pay rise and a slight increase in the number of personnel will moderately exceed the savings resulting from short-time working. Energy costs should, by contrast, be on a lower level than a year ago as a result of price and volume factors. K+S also sees an easing of material and freight costs while depreciation/amortisation charges should increase by a rate in the mid-single- digit percentage range.

For the financial year 2009, K+S therefore estimates significantly lower EBIT I operating earnings in comparison to the peak experienced last year. This is primarily due to the already described decreasing sales volume in the Potash and Magnesium Products business segment. Even a stronger US dollar exchange rate and higher earnings from salt against last year are not inclining us to change this forecast.

Also adjusted Group earnings after taxes should be significantly lower in 2009 in line with the development of operating earnings.

Experience growth The K+S Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of speciality and standard fertilizers, plant care as well as salt products. With its products and brands, K+S offers its customers a range of needs-based goods and services which provides growth opportunities in virtually every sphere of daily life. The K+S Group employs more than 12,000 people and achieved revenues of just under EUR 5.0 billion in 2008. K+S is quoted on all German stock exchanges (ISIN: DE0007162000, symbol: SDF) and listed on the DAX® share index.

Note to editors: You can download this press release as well as the Q1/09 quarterly report from

our website www.k-plus-s.com. In addition, you can follow the  speech  given  by
Norbert  Steiner,  chairman  of  the  Board  of  Executive  Directors   of   K+S
Aktiengesellschaft, at today's Annual General Meeting  in  Kassel  live  on  the
website from 10 a.m.; the presentation documents will also be available  on  the
website.

Conference Call with analysts
On the occasion of the publication of the  figures  for  the  first  quarter  of 

2009, on 14 May 2009, Norbert Steiner, chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, as well as Joachim Felker, member of the Board of Executive Directors of K+S Aktiengesellschaft, will answer questions from analysts during a conference call. From 3 p.m., you can follow this conference call live on the Internet at www.k-plus-s.com or by telephone by dialling +49.40. 37707.9033.

Your contact persons:

Press:
Oliver Morgenthal
Phone: +49 561 9301-1047 

Fax: +49 561 9301-2160 oliver.morgenthal@k-plus-s.com

Investor Relations: Christian Herrmann Phone: +49 561 9301-1460 Fax: +49 561 9301-2425 christian.herrmann@k-plus-s.com

Forward-looking statements This press release contains facts and forecasts that relate to the future development of the K+S Group and its companies. The forecasts are estimates that we have made on the basis of all the information available to us at this moment in time. Should the assumptions underlying these forecasts prove not to be correct, actual events may deviate from those expected at the present time.

|K+S Group at a Glance           | |           | |         | |        |
|1st Quarter 2009                | |           | |         | |        |
| |                               | |Q1         | |Q1       | |        |
|All figures in accordance with  | |Jan - Mar  | |Jan - Mar| |        |
|IFRSs                           | |           | |         | |        |
| |                               | |2009       | |2008     | |Change  |
| |                               | |EUR million  | |EUR million| |in %    |
| |                               | |           | |         | |        |
|Revenues                        | |1,075.7    | |1,213.0  | |(11.3)  |
| |                               | |           | |         | |        |
| |Potash and Magnesium Products  | |366.0      | |522.5    | |(30.0)  |
| |Nitrogen Fertilizers           | |342.1      | |488.4    | |(30.0)  |
| |Salt                           | |338.3      | |170.3    | |+98.6   |
| |Complementary Business Segments| |29.1       | |31.7     | |(8.2)   |
| |Reconciliation                 | |0.2        | |0.1      | |+100.0  |
| |                               | |           | |         | |        |
|Operating earnings (EBIT I)     | |174.0      | |226.3    | |(23.1)  |
| |                               | |           | |         | |        |
| |Potash and Magnesium Products  | |97.0       | |170.9    | |(43.2)  |
| |Nitrogen Fertilizers           | |8.1        | |42.6     | |(81.0)  |
| |Salt                           | |80.2       | |14.7     | |+445.6  |
| |Complementary Business Segments| |2.0        | |7.1      | |(71.8)  |
| |Reconciliation                 | |(13.3)     | |(9.0)    | |(47.8)  |
| |                               | |           | |         | |        |
|Earnings after hedging transactions   |152.9  | |118.6    | |+28.9   |
|and derivatives no longer in operation|       | |         | |        |
|(EBIT II)                             |       | |         | |        |
| |                               | |           | |         | |        |
|Earnings before income taxes     | |144.5      | |116.3    | |+24.2   |
| |                               | |           | |         | |        |
|Earnings before income taxes,       | |165.6  | |224.0    | |(26.1)  |
|adjusted1)                          | |       | |         | |        |
| |                               | |           | |         | |        |
|Group earnings after taxes       | |107.3      | |84.8     | |+26.5   |
| |                               | |           | |         | |        |
|Group earnings after taxes, adjusted1)| |122.5| |162.6    | |(24.7)  |
| |                               | |           | |         | |        |
|Earnings per share, adjusted      |0.74       | |0.99     | |(25.3)  |
|(EUR)1), 2)                         |           | |         | |        |
| |                                 | |         | |         | |        |
|Capital expenditure3)             | |29.1     | |24.2     | |+20.2   |
|                                  | |         | |         | |        |
|Employees as of 31. March (number)| |12,334   | |12,141   | |+1.6    |
|  of which trainees (number)      | |516      | |509      | |+1.4    |
|                                                                      |
|1) the adjusted figures only contain the result from hedging already  |
|realised during the current                                           |
|period. By contrast, changes in the market value of derivatives still |
|outstanding are not taken into account. The effects on deferred and   |
|cash taxes are also eliminated. Q1/2009 tax rate: 27.9% (Q1/2008:     |
|27.7%).                                                               |
|2) adjusted to the share split in the ratio 1:4 (entered in Commercial|
|Register: 24 June 2008; technical execution: 21 July 2008)            |
|3) for or in connection with intangible assets as well as property,   |
|plant and equipment                                                   | 
end of announcement                               euro adhoc
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Further inquiry note:

Press:
Oliver Morgenthal
Phone: +49 561 9301-1047
Fax: +49 561 9301-2160
oliver.morgenthal@k-plus-s.com

Investor Relations:
Christian Herrmann
Phone: +49 561 9301-1460
Fax: +49 561 9301-2425
christian.herrmann@k-plus-s.com

K+S Aktiengesellschaft
Communications
P.O. Box 10 20 29, 34111 Kassel, Germany
Bertha-von-Suttner-Str. 7, 34131 Kassel
www.k-plus-s.com
__________________________________________________________

Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Dr. Ralf Bethke
Board of Executive Directors: Norbert Steiner (Chairman), Joachim Felker, Gerd
Grimmig, Dr. Thomas Nöcker
Registered Office: Kassel
Commercial Register: Kassel HRB 2669

Branche: Chemicals
ISIN: DE0007162000
WKN: 716200
Index: DAX, Midcap Market Index, CDAX, Classic All Share, HDAX,
Prime All Share
Börsen: Frankfurt / regulated dealing/prime standard
Berlin / regulated dealing
Hamburg / regulated dealing
Stuttgart / regulated dealing
Düsseldorf / regulated dealing
Hannover / regulated dealing
München / regulated dealing

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