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15.01.2008 – 08:02

AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG

euro adhoc: AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG
quarterly or semiannual financial statement / AGRANA - Revenue up 3% - operating profit of EUR 87.4 million in the first three quarters of 2007|08 Third-quarter operating profit (after exceptionals) at last year's

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9-month report/AGRANA

15.01.2008

In the first three quarters of 2007|08 AGRANA, the sugar, starch and fruit group, raised its revenue by about 3% to EUR 1,418.7 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 1,380.4 million). While the Starch and Fruit segments generated significant revenue growth of 25% and 10% respectively, Sugar revenue declined by 9% amid the difficult conditions in the European sugar market. Operating profit before exceptional items for the first nine months was EUR 87.4 million, down 2.6% from EUR 89.7 million in the first three quarters 2006|07. In the third quarter, operating profit after exceptional items (restructuring), at EUR 30.6 million, was held steady compared to the prior-year level of EUR 30.5 million.

"The reform-driven decrease in sugar revenue was successfully offset in the first nine months by AGRANA's other two revenue streams," says AGRANA Chief Executive Officer Johann Marihart in commenting on the business performance. "However, the 2007 calendar year brought price increases in raw material markets on a scale that poses a considerable challenge to all segments of our business. In this environment, the steady third-quarter operating profit after exceptional items is in our view quite a satisfactory result," adds Marihart.

Third quarter of 2007|08 AGRANA IFRS results (quarter ended November 30, 2007)

Third quarter       Third quarter
                                  2007|08             2006|07
Revenue                EURm         485.3               457.3
Operating profit       EURm          33.0                30.5
Bioethanol exceptional EURm          (2.4)                  -
items
Operating profit after EURm          30.6                30.5
exceptional items
Profit before tax      EURm          17.7                28.9
Profit for the period  EURm          13.1                22.7
Earnings per share     EUR            0.94                 1.53 

The third quarter was positive across the board with revenue growth of 6% to EUR 485.3 million (Q3 2006|07: EUR 457.3 million). Operating profit after exceptional items (restructuring) was EUR 30.6 million, holding the prior-year level of EUR 30.5 million. However, owing to weaker Eastern European currencies, the Group's profit of the third quarter decreased to EUR 13.1 million (Q3 2006|07: EUR 22.7 million).

First nine months of 2007|08 Group revenue in the first three quarters of 2007|08 was EUR 1,418.7 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 1,380.4 million). Net financial items were EUR -15.7 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR -11.9 million) as a result of increased financing costs for the extensive capital investment and the higher interest rates. The resulting profit before tax in the first three quarters was E 67.7 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 77.8 million). After taxation at an effective rate of 26.6% (Q1-Q3 2006|07: 28.0%), profit for the period was EUR 49.7 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 56.0 million).

AGRANA recorded capital expenditure of EUR 157.2 million during the first nine months of 2007|08 (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 86.2 million). The main areas of investment were the starch and bioethanol activities. Capital expenditure in the Sugar segment related primarily to the new raw sugar refinery in Brcko, Serbia.

AGRANA IFRS results (three quarters ended November 30, 2007)

First three quarters        First three quarters
                                of 2007|08        of 2006|07
Revenue                EURm        1,418.7           1,380.4
Operating profit       EURm           87.4              89.7
Bioethanol exceptional EURm           (4.0)                -
items
Operating profit after EURm           83.4              89.7
exceptional items
Profit before tax      EURm           67.7              77.8
Profit for the period  EURm           49.7              56.0
Earnings per share     EUR             3.49               3.76
Investment: purchases                157.2               86.2
of property, plant and EURm
equipment and
intangible assets[1]
Staff count                          8,595              8,383

Revenue by segment
in EURm                First three quarters  First three quarters
                       of 2007|08            of 2006|07
Sugar segment               595.3                  652.8
Starch segment              231.9                  186.1
Fruit segment               644.5                  583.6
Inter-segment
eliminations                (53.1)                (42.0)
AGRANA Group revenue      1,418.7                1,380.4


Sugar segment
The absence of C-sugar exports and the  lower  quota  sugar  sales  due  to  the
preventive quota withdrawal were responsible for the revenue decrease of  9%  in 

the Sugar segment during the first three quarters to EUR 595.3 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 652.8 million). As a result of the lower sales quantities and the payments into the EU restructuring fund, the segment reported an operating profit of EUR 28.9 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 38.2 million)

Starch segment Revenue in the Starch segment was EUR 231.9 million in the first three quarters, 25% higher than the prior-year comparative level of EUR 186.1 million. This growth was driven by an increase in sales of saccharification products and bioethanol as well as higher market prices. Segment operating profit was EUR 27.9 million compared to EUR 22.4 million in the first three quarters of 2006|07. The profit expansion resulted from the volume growth and a higher component of value added.

Net exceptional items in the starch segment - an expense of EUR 4.0 million - represented the non-capitalisable costs of the construction of the bioethanol plant in Pischelsdorf, Austria.

Fruit segment Revenue of EUR 644.5 million was posted in the Fruit segment in the first three quarters (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 583.6 million). Operating profit was EUR 30.6 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 29.1 million). Weather-induced crop failures in Europe led to a pronounced undersupply of raw materials and to volatility in the market. However, thanks to expanded global procurement, AGRANA was able to cover its raw material requirements. The price increases required to absorb the sharp rise in raw material costs are being gradually implemented.

Outlook Raw-material-driven price increases for products in the Starch and Fruit segment will contrast with revenue reductions in Sugar. The restructuring measures made necessary by the new EU sugar regime continue in the fourth quarter. Group revenue for the financial year 2007|08 is therefore expected to be just under EUR 1,900 million (2006|07: EUR 1,915.8 million based on 14 months of Fruit results).

For the 2007|08 financial year AGRANA plans to approach last year's operating profit before exceptional items. Expenses for the bioethanol operations and closure costs for the Hungarian sugar factory in Petöhaza and the Czech fruit processing facility in Kaplice will, however, cause operating profit after exceptional items (restructuring) to ease slightly from the prior year.

This press release and the report on the first three quarters of 2007|08 are available in German and English on the Internet at www.agrana.com.

----------------------- 1 Excluding any goodwill

end of announcement                               euro adhoc
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Further inquiry note:

AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG
Mag. Maria Fally
Investor Relations
Tel.: +43-1-211 37-12905
e-mail:maria.fally@agrana.com

Mag. Ulrike Pichler
Public Relations
Tel.: +43-1-211 37-12084
e-mail:ulrike.pichler@agrana.com

Branche: Food
ISIN: AT0000603709
WKN: 779535
Index: WBI, ATX Prime
Börsen: Börse Berlin / Präsenzhandel
Börse Frankfurt / Präsenzhandel
Börse Stuttgart / Präsenzhandel
Wiener Börse AG / official market

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