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07.05.2020 – 07:30

AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG

EANS-News: AGRANA: significant EBIT growth in 2019|20 financial year

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  Corporate news transmitted by euro adhoc with the aim of a Europe-wide
  distribution. The issuer is responsible for the content of this announcement.
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COVID-19: No reliable forecast of revenue and EBIT for 2020|21 financial year is
possible to date

Financial Figures/Balance Sheet

Vienna -
- Revenue: EUR 2,480.7 million (+1.5%; prior year: EUR 2,443.0 million)

- Operating profit (EBIT): EUR 87.1 million (+30.8%; prior year: EUR 66.6
million)

- Earnings per share: EUR 0.77 (+87.8%; prior year: EUR 0.41)

- Equity ratio: 54.4% (prior year: 59.0%)

- Dividend proposal for 2019|20: EUR 0.77 per share (prior-year dividend: EUR
1.00 per share)

In the 2019|20 financial year, AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG achieved Group revenue of
EUR 2,480.7 million, a slight increase from the prior year. Operating profit
(EBIT), at EUR 87.1 million, rose significantly (by EUR 20.5 million) from one
year earlier. "The past financial year brought the expected significant
improvement in earnings. Business performance was very good in the Starch
segment, where we also benefited from high bioethanol prices. But the Group's
overall growth in EBIT was also due to a slight recovery in the Sugar segment,
where EBIT improved while remaining in negative territory. In the Fruit segment,
the original goal of EBIT growth had to be revised during the year, due
particularly to lower-than-expected results in the fruit preparations business,"
notes AGRANA Chief Executive Officer Johann Marihart.

Remarking on AGRANA's current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, CEO
Marihart explains: "As a food producer, AGRANA is considered to be critical
infrastructure. Since the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the
difficult production environment and the high demand for our products, we have
been well able to assure that our customers are supplied. Our diversified
business model with the three segments of Fruit, Starch and Sugar is a
stabilising factor especially in these challenging times and will help us in
overcoming the crisis."

AGRANA Group results
EUR million, except %

                                                    FY 2019|20 FY 2018|19
Revenue                                             2,480.7    2,443.0
EBITDA*                                             183.1      147.7
Operating profit**                                  73.1       51.1
Share of results of equity-accounted joint ventures 16.7       12.2
Operating profit (EBIT)                             87.1       66.6
EBIT margin                                         3.5%       2.7%
Profit for the period                               51.3       30.4
Earnings per share                                  0.77       0.41
Investment***                                       149.7      183.8
Number of employees****                             9,342      9,230


The higher net financial items expense of EUR 17.2 million (prior year: net
expense of EUR 15.4 million) was due to a rise in net interest expense from EUR
5.5 million in the prior year to EUR 8.4 million. This in turn was attributable
primarily to an increase of EUR 150 million in average debt and to an additional
interest expense of about EUR 1.0 million resulting from the initial application
of IFRS 16, Leases. Profit before tax increased from the prior year's EUR 51.2
million to EUR 69.9 million. After an income tax expense of EUR 18.6 million,
representing a tax rate of 26.6% (prior year: 40.7%), the Group's profit for the
period was EUR 51.3 million (prior year: EUR 30.4 million).

With total assets of EUR 2,549.4 million that were EUR 160.0 million higher than
one year earlier, the Group had an equity ratio of 54.4%, which was 4.6
percentage points below the prior-year level. Net debt as of 29 February 2020
amounted to EUR 464.0 million, up EUR 141.8 million from the 2018|19 year-end
level. The gearing ratio at the balance sheet date was 33.5% (28 February 2019:
22.9%). Consistent with AGRANA's transparent dividend policy, under which
distributions are based on the Group's profit and cash flow as well as its debt
situation and the need to maintain a sound balance sheet structure, and which
also takes into account current events and the expected future business
trajectory, the Management Board will propose to shareholders at the Annual
General Meeting to pay a dividend of EUR 0.77 per share for the 2019|20
financial year (prior-year dividend: EUR 1.00 per share).


FRUIT segment

                        FY 2019|20 FY 2018|19
Revenue                 1,185.5    1,179.1
Operating profit (EBIT) 55.9       77.3
EBIT margin             4.7%       6.6%


The Fruit segment's overall revenue was steady (up 0.5%) compared to one year
earlier. While revenue in the fruit preparations business showed a slight
increase thanks to higher sales volumes, revenue of the fruit juice concentrate
activities eased year-on-year as a result of lower apple juice concentrate
prices for product from the 2018 crop and lower sales volumes from the 2019
campaign. EBIT decreased by 27.6% from the year-ago value. This earnings
deterioration was driven above all by one-time effects (including in raw
materials), higher costs and lower-than-expected sales volume in the fruit
preparations business on the one hand, and a poorer margin and sales volume
situation and reduced capacity utilisation of the fruit juice concentrate
facilities in the 2019 processing season on the other hand.


STARCH segment

                        FY 2019|20 FY 2018|19
Revenue                 807.0      762.7
Operating profit (EBIT) 75.2       51.2
EBIT margin             9.3%       6.7%


Starch segment revenue rose by 5.8% year-on-year. Significant revenue growth was
generated in native and modified starches, while there was a decline in revenue
with by-products (animal feeds and fertilisers). EBIT in the Starch segment
surpassed the year-earlier result by 46.7%. The pronounced earnings growth
stemmed primarily from the considerable rise in the market price of ethanol.


SUGAR segment

                        FY 2019|20 FY 2017|18
Revenue                 488.3      501.2
Operating profit (EBIT) (44.0)     (61.9)
EBIT margin             (9.0%)     (12.4%)

Amid the continued low sugar selling prices, revenue in the Sugar segment eased
by 2.6% from the prior year. In terms of volume, sales with resellers and
industrial customers in the domestic markets were in line with the year before.
EBIT improved by 28.8%, although remaining negative. The positive EBIT trend was
attributable mainly to higher sugar prices for resellers compared with the prior
year.


Outlook

The outlook for the 2020|21 financial year is subject to the proviso that the
economic and financial impacts and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic are
currently not yet clear. Given the dynamic nature of the pandemic, quantitative
assumptions about these unknowns would be largely speculative. Based on the
projections made before the emergence of COVID-19, the AGRANA Group would have
expected a significant increase both in its revenue and EBIT. In 2020|21 the
total investment in the three business segments - about EUR 80 million - will be
significantly below the budgeted depreciation of approximately EUR 120 million.


About AGRANA

AGRANA converts agricultural raw materials into high-quality foods and numerous
industrial intermediate products. About 9,300 employees at 57 production sites
worldwide generate annual Group revenue of approximately EUR 2.5 billion.
Established in 1988, the company is the world market leader in fruit
preparations and the foremost producer of fruit juice concentrates in Europe. As
well, its Starch segment is a major manufacturer of custom starch products and
of bioethanol. AGRANA today is also the leading sugar producer in Central and
Eastern Europe.

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


*EBITDA represents operating profit before exceptional items, results of equity-
accounted joint ventures, and operating depreciation and amortisation.

**Operating profit before exceptional items and results of equity-accounted
joint ventures

***Investment represents purchases of property, plant and equipment and
intangible assets, excluding goodwill.

****Average number of full-time equivalents in the financial year.




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
Public Relations
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:         AT000AGRANA3
indexes:      WBI
stockmarkets: Frankfurt, Wien, Berlin, Stuttgart
language:     English 

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