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08.05.2018 – 07:30

AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG

EANS-News: AGRANA: significant EBIT growth in 2017|18 financial year

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  Corporate news transmitted by euro adhoc with the aim of a Europe-wide
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Operating profit (EBIT) up across all segments; Outlook: significant reduction
in EBIT ahead

Financial Figures/Balance Sheet

Vienna -

- Revenue: EUR 2,566.3 million (up 0.2%; prior year: EUR 2,561.3 million)
- Operating profit (EBIT): EUR 190.6 million (up 10.6%; prior year: EUR 172.4
million)
- All segments contributed to the significant improvement in operating profit
- Earnings per share: EUR 8.97 (up 25.8%; prior year: EUR 7.13)
- Equity ratio: 61.7% (prior year: 56.9%)
- Dividend proposal at AGM: EUR 4.50 per share (prior-year dividend: EUR 4.00
per share)
- Outlook for 2018|19: expecting significant EBIT reduction, revenue in line
with last year


In the 2017|18 financial year, AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG improved its consolidated
operating profit (EBIT) significantly to EUR 190.6 million (prior year: EUR
172.4 million). The Group's revenue of EUR 2,566.3 million was steady at the
year-earlier level (prior year: EUR 2,561.3 million). "We are pleased that all
three segments contributed to the profit improvement, with the Fruit and Starch
segments even reaching new all-time highs. The Sugar segment as well
participated in the EBIT growth, thanks to a good performance in the first half
of 2017|18. Since the second half of the year, however, the absence of the sugar
quotas is clearly making itself felt in the strong downward pressure on prices,"
says AGRANA CEO Johann Marihart.


AGRANA Group results
EUR million, except %

                        FY 2017|18 FY 2016|17
Revenue                 2,566.3    2,561.3
EBITDA*                 254.2      235.2
Operating profit (EBIT) 190.6      172.4
EBIT margin             7.4%       6.7%
Profit for the period   142.6      117.9
Earnings per share      8,97       7,13
Investments**           140.9      114.7
Number of employees***  8,678      8,638


*EBITDA represents operating profit before exceptional items, results of equity-
accounted joint ventures, and operating depreciation and amortisation.
**Purchases of property, plant and equipment and intangibles; Excluding goodwill
*** Average number of full-time equivalents in the financial year.


Net financial items amounted to a net expense of EUR 14.5 million in the 2017|18
financial year (prior year: net expense of EUR 17.9 million), an improvement
driven partly by a more favourable credit and interest rate structure. Profit
before tax increased from the prior year's EUR 154.5 million to EUR 176.2
million. After an income tax expense of EUR 33.5 million based on a tax rate of
19.0% (prior year: 23.7%), the Group's profit for the period was EUR 142.6
million (prior year: EUR 117.9 million).

With total assets of EUR 2,356.4 million that were EUR 125.0 million lower than
one year earlier, AGRANA improved its equity ratio from 56.9% to 61.7% or by 4.8
percentage points. Net debt as of 28 February 2018, at EUR 232.5 million, was
down EUR 7.4 million from the 2016|17 year-end level. The gearing ratio thus
amounted to 16.0% at the balance sheet date (28 February 2017: 17.0%). In view
of the positive financial results, and consistent with AGRANA's dependable
distribution policy, the Management Board and Supervisory Board will propose at
the Annual General Meeting to pay a dividend of EUR 4.50 per share for the
2017|18 financial year (prior-year dividend: EUR 4.00 per share).



Results in the Sugar, Starch and Fruit segments

SUGAR segment

                        FY 2017|18 FY 2016|17
Revenue                 652.6      671.9
Operating profit (EBIT) 34.8       24.4
EBIT margin             5.3%       3.6%


Sugar segment revenue eased slightly by 2.9% to EUR 652.6 million. Until the end
of September, average sugar prices in 2017 were still significantly higher than
one year earlier. Since the new, 2017|18 sugar marketing year (which began on 1
October 2017 and runs to 30 September 2018), prices plummeted both with
resellers and industrial customers. EBIT for the year nonetheless grew from EUR
24.4 million to EUR 34.8 million, still benefiting especially in the first six
months from higher sales prices compared to the year-earlier period.


STARCH Segment

                        FY 2017|18 FY 2016|17
Revenue                 752.3      733.9
Operating profit (EBIT) 80.2       76.2
EBIT margin             10.7%      10.4%


Revenue in the Starch segment was EUR 752.3 million, up slightly by 2.5% from
the year before. Key positive drivers included higher sales volumes of starches
(particularly native starches and organic and specialty grades) and, in the
first nine months, higher bioethanol prices. The segment's EBIT of EUR 80.2
million surpassed the prior year's record result by 5.2% and translated into an
EBIT margin of 10.7% (prior year: 10.4%). The EBIT increase was made possible in
part by higher average ethanol quotations over the year and by lower energy
prices.


FRUIT segment

                        FY 2017|18 FY 2016|17
Revenue                 1,161.4    1,155.5
Operating profit (EBIT) 75.6       71.8
EBIT margin             6.5%       6.2%


Revenue in the Fruit segment, at EUR 1,161.4 million, was in line with one year
earlier. In the fruit preparations business, a small increase in sales volumes
together with stable selling prices added up to slight revenue growth. In the
fruit juice concentrate activities, revenue decreased slightly, due partly to
lower concentrate prices for product from the 2016 crop compared to 2015. The
Fruit segment's EBIT reached a new high of EUR 75.6 million, up by 5.3% from the
prior year.


Outlook
Thanks to its sound balance sheet and the diversified business model built on
the Fruit, Starch and Sugar segments, AGRANA considers itself well positioned
for the future. "For the 2018|19 financial year, at present we expect Group
revenue in line with last year and see a significant reduction in Group EBIT
amid the current challenges in the Sugar segment," comments CEO Marihart. In
2018|19 the total investment in the three business segments - about EUR 170
million - will significantly exceed the budgeted depreciation of approximately
EUR 98 million.


About AGRANA
AGRANA converts agricultural raw materials into high-quality foods and numerous
industrial intermediate products. About 8,700 employees at 58 production sites
worldwide generate annual Group revenue of approximately EUR 2.6 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
custom starch products and bioethanol. AGRANA is also the world market leader in
fruit preparations and the largest manufacturer of fruit juice concentrates in
Europe.

This announcement is available in German and English at www.agrana.com [https://
www.agrana.com/en/].




Further inquiry note:
AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG


Mag.(FH) Hannes Haider
Investor Relations
Tel.: +43-1-211 37-12905
e-mail:hannes.haider@agrana.com


Mag.(FH) Markus Simak
Pressesprecher
Tel.: +43-1-211 37-12084
e-mail: markus.simak@agrana.com

end of announcement                         euro adhoc
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issuer:       AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG
              F.-W.-Raiffeisen-Platz  1
              A-1020 Wien
phone:        +43-1-21137-0
FAX:          +43-1-21137-12926
mail:      info.ab@agrana.com
WWW:       www.agrana.com
ISIN:         AT0000603709
indexes:      WBI
stockmarkets: Stuttgart, Berlin, Wien, Frankfurt
language:     English
 

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