AGRANA expanded by 52.9 per cent in the 2005|06 financial year PonctuellesDate: 22.05.2006
The AGRANA Group attained revenue growth of 52.9 per cent to € 1,499.6 million in the 2005|06 financial year (1 March 2005 through 28 February 2006), as against € 981.0 million in 2004|05.
This increase was mainly due to the consolidation of the Wink Group as of 1 January 2005 and of the Atys Group – the world market leader in fruit preparations – as of the second quarter of 2005|06 as well as significantly higher sugar sales by volume.
On occasion of AGRANA’s results press conference in Vienna, the Chairman of the Board of Management of AGRANA – Johann Marihart – said, "The full acquisition of the Atys Group and DSF as well as the takeover of Steirerobst AG was a first ambitious goal in the expansion of our Fruit Division. As a result, we have a balanced product portfolio and are ideally prepared for further growth." Marihart also announced that an unchanged dividend of EUR 1.95 per share would be proposed to the General Meeting on 14 July 2006.
Net restructuring income (expenses)
Income from operations
Profit before income tax
Consolidated earnings for the year
Earnings per share
Capital expenditure on tangible fixed assets
* Based on the number of shares in circulation as of 28 February 2005
Revenues broke down by segment as follows:
Revenues AGRANA Group
Result for the 2005|06 financial year
Operating profit increased by 9.6 per cent to € 99.5 million (2004|05: € 90.8 million). That increase was fuelled by the stronger results in the Starch and Fruit Divisions, which over-compensated for the lower result in the Sugar Division.
Income from operations (after restructuring expenses) declined to € 75.0 million (2004|05: € 90.8 million). This result includes one-off restructuring expenses of € 24.5 million. As a consequence of the reform of the EU Sugar CMO, two of the Group’s eleven sugar factories were closed down.
CFO Walter Grausam commented, "These steps were rationalization measures required to ensure better utilization of existing capacities and thus achieve cost savings." Grausam continued, "We have prepared for the changed market conditions in the sugar sector."
Profit from investing and financial activities dropped from plus € 2.4 million in the previous financial year to minus € 3.3 million in the 2005|06 financial year. The result was primarily affected by the acquisition of the remaining stakes in Atys and Steirerobst and the associated higher interest expense. Consolidated earnings for the year decreased from € 84.3 million to € 64.7 million.
The Sugar Division recorded a substantial 13.9 per cent increase in revenues to € 753.8 million (2004|05: € 661.6 million). That growth was attributable to higher sugar exports and first-time deliveries within the scope of the EU intervention system.
Due to lower domestic prices, cuts in export refunds and higher EU levies as well as freight and energy costs, operating profit in the Sugar Segment amounted to € 38.7 million, which was below the record level of the previous year (€ 60.7 million).
Specialties Segment (Starch and Fruit)
The Specialties Segment was characterised by the full consolidation of the Wink and Atys Groups in the 2005|06 financial year. As a result, revenues expanded by 133.5 per cent to € 745.8 million (2004|05: € 319.4 million).
The Specialties Segment hence already generated 49.7 per cent of AGRANA’s total revenues. Operating profit doubled to € 60.8 million (2004|05: € 30.1 million).
Although the Starch Division registered a slight drop in prices due to good maize supply, volume increases and improvements of the product mix overcompensated for the decline. The Group invested in capacity expansion in the Aschach and Gmünd factories. In Hungary, the maize processing capacity was raised as well, and bioethanol production increased.
AGRANA Bioethanol GmbH was founded in July 2005. Planning work for the establishment of Austria’s first bioethanol plant is in full progress, so that the Board of Management expects the plant in Pischelsdorf to start operations as planned in October 2007. The Group reckons with an annual production volume of up to 240,000 cubic metres of bioethanol at that plant.
As regards Hungary – where AGRANA already produces bioethanol – a decision in principle was taken to expand capacities further. On this topic, Marihart stated, "We absolutely consider bioethanol an industry of the future which will lower the dependency on crude oil and natural gas on the one hand and which will bring about a significant reduction in CO2 emissions on the other hand."
As a result of the acquisitions of the last few years, AGRANA is now the world market leader in fruit preparations with a market share of about 37 per cent and the largest producer of fruit juice concentrates in Europe.
The full acquisition of the investments in the Fruit Division during the 2005|06 financial year laid all the necessary foundations for a restructuring of that business area. All investments in fruit companies will be combined under the two companies AGRANA Fruit and AGRANA Juice.
Marihart explained, "The restructuring aims at the establishment of two uniform, focused organisations within AGRANA’s Fruit Division. This will simplify internal processes, save costs and improve customer service."
"We want to boost group revenues to about € 1,800 million in the current 2006|07 financial year”, CFO Walter Grausam said. "For the first time in the history of AGRANA Group, revenues in the Specialties Segment will exceed those of the Sugar Division", Grausam continued.
In the Fruit Division, the global growth course will continue both internally and through selected acquisitions. Besides the concentration on high-margin specialties, also the construction of the bioethanol plant in Austria and capacity expansion in Austria and Hungary will increase revenues in the Starch Division. The Sugar Division will remain a core business of AGRANA Group.