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13.05.2015 – 07:32

AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG

EANS-News: AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG generated revenue of EUR 2.5 billion and EBIT of EUR 121.7 million

  Corporate news transmitted by euro adhoc. The issuer/originator is solely
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Subtitle: Dividend proposal of € 3.60 per share

Financial Figures/Balance Sheet

-Profit for the period of EUR 2,493.5 million (prior year: EUR 2,841.7 million)
-Operating profit (EBIT) of EUR 121.7 million was well below the prior year's
EUR 166.9 million
-Price pressure in the Sugar segment, in ethanol activities, on fruit juice
concentrates, and restructuring expenses in Fruit, led to EBIT reduction
-Equity ratio of 49.6% (prior year: 49.8%)
-Earnings per share of EUR 5.70 (prior year: EUR 7.40); dividend proposal of
EUR 3.60 unchanged from prior year
-Outlook for 2015|16: expecting steady revenue, with significant further
decrease in EBIT
In the 2014|15 financial year, AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG achieved consolidated
revenue of EUR 2,493.5 million (prior year: EUR 2,841.7 million). The reduction
of about 12% was driven mainly by declining sugar prices, but also by lower
prices for isoglucose, ethanol and fruit juice concentrates. Operating profit
(EBIT, or earnings before interest and tax), at EUR 121.7 million, was
approximately 27% below the prior-year level of EUR 166.9 million.
Especially in the Sugar segment, steadily declining market prices led to a
significant drop in earnings. From October 2013 to October 2014 alone, the EU
sugar price fell by about 30%. The coming months will continue to be very
challenging for Sugar. The Starch and Fruit segments have proved a stabilising
influence for profitability, with the Starch segment contributing a slight year-
on-year increase in EBIT. A moderate EBIT decline in the Fruit segment was the
result of one-time factors: start-up costs for the successful commissioning of
the US plant in Lysander, New York, and exceptional expenses for restructuring
in the fruit preparations business.
As AGRANA Chief Executive Officer Johann Marihart notes: "Although no near-term
trend reversal is currently in sight in the Sugar segment and we do not expect
to match last year's earnings result this financial year, we do anticipate
renewed rising margins in all segments in the medium term. Especially during a
time of difficult conditions for sugar producers, our Starch and Fruit segments
are a source of stability for the Group's results. AGRANA thus remains committed
to its strategy of diversification across three pillars and is taking measures
to further strengthen them."
AGRANA Group results(under IFRS)

MEUR = million euros, EUR = euros

                             FY 2014|15 FY 2013|14*
Revenue                 MEUR 2,493.5    2,841.7
EBITDA**                MEUR 181.9      214.3
Operating profit***     MEUR 102.0      134.6
EBIT margin                  4.9%       5.9%
Operating profit (EBIT) MEUR 121.7      166.9
Profit for the period   MEUR 84.6       107.0
Earnings per share      EUR  5.70       7.40
Investment****          MEUR 91.2       130.0
Staff count                  8,708      8,505


*The prior-year data have been restated under IAS 8.
**EBITDA represents operating profit before exceptional items, results of
equity-accounted joint ventures, depreciation and amortisation.
***Before exceptional items and results of equity-accounted joint ventures
****Investment represents purchases of property, plant and equipment and
intangible assets, excluding goodwill.

Net financial items amounted to a net expense of EUR 5.2 million (prior year:
net expense of EUR 30.2 million); the substantial year-on-year improvement of
EUR 25.6 million resulted primarily from net currency translation gains (prior
year: translation losses). Profit before tax decreased from EUR 136.7 million in
the prior year to EUR 116.5 million. After an income tax expense of EUR 31.9
million based on a tax rate of 27.4% (prior year: 21.7%), the Group's profit for
the period was EUR 84.6 million (prior year: EUR 107.0 million). Earnings per
share were EUR 5.70 (prior year: EUR 7.40)
AGRANA's equity ratio of 49.6% was almost unchanged from the year-earlier level
(49.8%). Net debt at the balance sheet date was EUR 330.3 million, a
considerable reduction of EUR 56.5 million from the 2013|14 year-end level. The
gearing ratio, at 27.7%, was thus substantially better than one year earlier,
when it stood at 32.5%. Consistent with the long-term focus of AGRANA's dividend
policy, the Management Board will recommend to the Annual General Meeting to pay
an unchanged dividend of EUR 3.60 per share.

Sugar segment

                             FY 2014|15 FY 2013|14*
Revenue                 MEUR 731.1      962.9
Operating profit (EBIT) MEUR 9.0        49.2
EBIT margin                  1.2%       5.1%

Revenue in the Sugar segment decreased by 24.1% to EUR 731.1 million. Negative

drivers were a sharp reduction in sales prices and a decrease in quantities sold
into the sugar-using industry and in non-quota sugar. As expected, EBIT too, at
EUR 9.0 million, was down significantly from the year-ago value; the reduction
in raw material prices was not enough to compensate for the lower sugar selling

Starch segment

                             FY 2014|15 FY 2013|14*
Revenue                 MEUR 700.1      706.7
Operating profit (EBIT) MEUR 54.1       53.9
EBIT margin                  7.7%       7.6%

Starch revenue was EUR 700.1 million, or slightly below the year-earlier amount.

The decrease resulted primarily from lower sales prices for bioethanol and
starch saccharification products. EBIT showed an uptick of 0.4% to EUR 54.1
million.  The revenue decrease was thus slightly more than made up for by lower
raw material and energy prices and by higher sales quantities, particularly from
the wheat starch plant in Pischelsdorf, Austria.

Fruit segment

                             FY 2014|15 FY 2013|14*
Revenue                 MEUR 1,062.3    1,172.1
Operating profit (EBIT) MEUR 58.6       63.8
EBIT margin                  5.5%       5.4%


Fruit segment revenue decreased by 9.4% to EUR 1,062.3 million. In the fruit
preparations activities, this revenue decline resulted from currency translation
effects, while in the fruit juice concentrates business the main causes were
sharply lower selling prices of apple juice concentrate combined with lower
sales volume. EBIT was EUR 58.6 million, representing a decrease of 8.2% from
the prior year. In the fruit preparations business, the costs for the closure of
the plant in Kröllendorf/Allhartsberg, Austria, and the relocation of its
production to Gleisdorf, Austria, detracted from earnings. In fruit juice
concentrates, absolute earnings figures were down as a result of sales prices.

Outlook for 2015|16
Despite a difficult market environment, AGRANA believes that its sound finances
and its diversified business model with the three segments of Sugar, Starch and
Fruit give the Group a continuing solid footing for the new financial year. "As
it stands today, we expect Group revenue to be steady in the 2015|16 financial
year. Operating profit (EBIT) is likely to decrease significantly," comments CEO
Marihart. In 2015|16, the total investment in the three business segments -
about EUR 93 million - will remain slightly ahead of depreciation. For example,
the Sugar segment is completing the molasses desugaring plant in Tulln and the
new sugar packaging centre in Kaposvár, Hungary. In the Starch segment, AGRANA
is expanding capacity at the Aschach and Gmünd facilities (both in Austria).

AGRANA converts agricultural raw materials into high-quality foods and numerous
industrial intermediate products. About 8,700 employees generate at more than 50
production sites worldwide annual Group sales of around EUR 2.5 billion.
Established in 1988, the company today is the leading sugar producer in Central
and Eastern Europe and its Starch segment is a major European manufacturer of
specialty products, as well as the largest manufacturer of bioethanol in
Austria. AGRANA is the world market leader in fruit preparations and Europe's
largest producer of fruit juice concentrates.
This press release is also available on the AGRANA website at

Further inquiry note:
AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG

Mag.(FH) Markus Simak
Tel.: +43-1-211 37-12084

Mag.(FH) Hannes Haider
Investor Relations
Tel.: +43-1-211 37-12905

end of announcement                               euro adhoc 

company:     AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG
             F.-W.-Raiffeisen-Platz  1
             A-1020 Wien
phone:       +43-1-21137-0
FAX:         +43-1-21137-12926
sector:      Food
ISIN:        AT0000603709
indexes:     WBI, ATX Prime
stockmarkets: Präsenzhandel: Berlin, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, official market: Wien 
language:   English

Original content of: AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG, transmitted by news aktuell