KWS Announces Strong Sales and Earnings Growth for First Nine Months of 2023/2024

Eva Kienle, Chief Financial Officer of KWS, stated, “With an extremely strong sugarbeet season, we have laid the foundation for another successful fiscal year in 2023/2024. Additionally, the divestment of our corn activities in China and South America aligns with our strategic objectives of focusing on plant-based foods and achieving higher profitability.”

Business Development for the First Nine Months of 2023/2024

Following the agreement in March 2024 to sell the South American corn business, the key figures for the first nine months of 2023/2024 pertain to KWS’s continuing operations. The South American corn business is reported as a discontinued operation until the transaction is finalized.

In the first nine months of fiscal year 2023/2024, KWS Group’s sales increased by 10.4% to €1,360.4 million, despite negative currency impacts from Eastern European currencies, the Turkish lira, and the US dollar. Excluding currency effects, sales rose by 18.4%.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) grew by 37.4% to €401.9 million, and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased by 47.8% to €336.4 million. Both EBIT and EBITDA include a one-time positive earnings contribution of approximately €30 million from the sale of the Chinese corn portfolio.

The financial result declined significantly to €–24.7 million, while income taxes amounted to €83.2 million, resulting in earnings after tax for continuing operations of €228.5 million. Free cash flow was €–89.6 million due to seasonally higher trade receivables and increased inventories.

Segment Performance

Corn Segment: Net sales declined by about 9% to €572.1 million, impacted by negative exchange rate effects. On a comparable basis, the decline was 4%. While European sales remained stable after adjustment for exchange rate effects, the U.S. joint venture AgReliant performed below expectations. Segment income rose to €82.7 million, including a €30 million gain from the divestment of the Chinese corn portfolio.

Sugarbeet Segment: Net sales surged by around 25% to €687.6 million (38% on a comparable basis) due to double-digit growth in all main sugarbeet markets and the success of sustainable product innovations like CONVISO® SMART and CR+, now accounting for 56% of net sales. Segment income increased significantly to €291.0 million due to an improved product and price mix.

Cereals Segment: Net sales rose by 9% to €250.9 million, mainly due to growth in rye, oilseed rape, and wheat seed, with a 12% increase on a comparable basis after adjusting for negative exchange rate effects. The segment posted an income increase to €79.0 million.

Vegetables Segment: Net sales fell by 11% to €40.6 million, primarily due to lower sales in China and North America. Segment income declined to €–21.8 million due to planned expenditures on expanding the vegetable business and lower contributions from existing operations, including a €–8.8 million effect from purchase price allocation.

Corporate Segment: Net sales remained stable at €7.1 million, mainly from KWS farms. However, income fell to €–96.0 million due to higher R&D expenditures.

Overall, KWS’s strategic focus and strong performance in key segments lay a robust foundation for continued growth and profitability in the 2023/2024 fiscal year.

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