AGRANA - Revenue up 3% - operating profit of € 87.4 million in the first three quarters of 2007|08

15 января 2008 г.

Third-quarter operating profit (after exceptionals) at last year’s level

In the first three quarters of 2007|08 AGRANA, the sugar, starch and fruit group, raised its revenue by about 3% to € 1,418.7 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: € 1,380.4 million). While the Starch and Fruit segments generated significant revenue growth of 25% and 10% respectively, Sugar revenue declined by 9% amid the difficult conditions in the European sugar market. Operating profit before exceptional items for the first nine months was € 87.4 million, down 2.6% from € 89.7 million in the first three quarters 2006|07. In the third quarter, operating profit after exceptional items (restructuring), at € 30.6 million, was held steady compared to the prior-year level of € 30.5 million.

The reform-driven decrease in sugar revenue was successfully offset in the first nine months by AGRANA’s other two revenue streams,” says AGRANA Chief Executive Officer Johann Marihart in commenting on the business performance. “However, the 2007 calendar year brought price increases in raw material markets on a scale that poses a considerable challenge to all segments of our business. In this environment, the steady third-quarter operating profit after exceptional items is in our view quite a satisfactory result,” adds Marihart.

 

Third quarter of 2007|08

AGRANA IFRS results (quarter ended November 30, 2007)

    Third Quarter 2007|08 Third Quarter 2006|07
Revenue €m 485.3 457.3
Operating Profit €m 33.0 30.5
Bioethanol exceptional items €m (2.4) -
Operating profit after exceptional items €m 30.6 30.5
Profit before tax €m 17.7 28.9
Profit for the period €m 13.1 22.7
Earnings per share 0.94 1.53

The third quarter was positive across the board with revenue growth of 6% to € 485.3 million (Q3 2006|07: € 457.3 million). Operating profit after exceptional items (restructuring) was € 30.6 million, holding the prior-year level of € 30.5 million. However, owing to weaker Eastern European currencies, the Group’s profit of the third quarter decreased to € 13.1 million (Q3 2006|07: € 22.7 million).

 

First nine months of 2007|08
Group revenue in the first three quarters of 2007|08 was € 1,418.7 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: € 1,380.4 million). Net financial items were € –15.7 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: € –11.9 million) as a result of increased financing costs for the extensive capital investment and the higher interest rates. The resulting profit before tax in the first three quarters was € 67.7 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: € 77.8 million). After taxation at an effective rate of 26.6% (Q1-Q3 2006|07: 28.0%), profit for the period was € 49.7 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: € 56.0 million).       AGRANA recorded capital expenditure of € 157.2 million during the first nine months of 2007|08 (Q1-Q3 2006|07: € 86.2 million). The main areas of investment were the starch and bioethanol activities. Capital expenditure in the Sugar segment related primarily to the new raw sugar refinery in Brcko, Serbia.

 

AGRANA IFRS results (three quarters ended November 30, 2007)

    First three quarters of 2007|08 First three quarters of 2006|07
Revenue €m 1,418.7 1,380.4
Operating profit €m 87.4 89.7
Bioethanol exceptional items €m (4.0) -
Operating profit after exceptional items €m 83.4 89.7
Profit before tax €m 67.7 77.8
Profit for the period €m 49.7 56.0
Earnings per share 3.49 3.76
Investment: purchases of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets (excl. any goodwill) €m 157.2 86.2
Employees   8,595 8,383

 

Revenue by segment

in €m First three quarters of 2007|08 First three quarters of 2006|07
Sugar segment 595.3 652.8
Starch segment

231.9

186.1
Fruit segment 644.5 583.6
Inter-segment eliminations (53.1) (42.0)

AGRANA Group revenue

1,418.7 1,380.4

 

 

Sugar segment
The absence of C-sugar exports and the lower quota sugar sales due to the preventive quota withdrawal were responsible for the revenue decrease of 9% in the Sugar segment during the first three quarters to € 595.3 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: € 652.8 million). As a result of the lower sales quantities and the payments into the EU restructuring fund, the segment reported an operating profit of € 28.9 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: € 38.2 million)

 

Starch segment
Revenue in the Starch segment was € 231.9 million in the first three quarters, 25% higher than the prior-year comparative level of € 186.1 million. This growth was driven by an increase in sales of saccharification products and bioethanol as well as higher market prices. Segment operating profit was € 27.9 million compared to € 22.4 million in the first three quarters of 2006|07. The profit expansion resulted from the volume growth and a higher component of value added.

Net exceptional items in the starch segment – an expense of € 4.0 million – represented the non-capitalisable costs of the construction of the bioethanol plant in Pischelsdorf, Austria.

 

Fruit segment
Revenue of € 644.5 million was posted in the Fruit segment in the first three quarters (Q1-Q3 2006|07: € 583.6 million). Operating profit was € 30.6 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: € 29.1 million). Weather-induced crop failures in Europe led to a pronounced undersupply of raw materials and to volatility in the market. However, thanks to expanded global procurement, AGRANA was able to cover its raw material requirements. The price increases required to absorb the sharp rise in raw material costs are being gradually implemented.

 

Outlook
Raw-material-driven price increases for products in the Starch and Fruit segment will contrast with revenue reductions in Sugar. The restructuring measures made necessary by the new EU sugar regime continue in the fourth quarter. Group revenue for the financial year 2007|08 is therefore expected to be just under € 1,900 million (2006|07: € 1,915.8 million based on 14 months of Fruit results).

For the 2007|08 financial year AGRANA plans to approach last year’s operating profit before exceptional items. Expenses for the bioethanol operations and closure costs for the Hungarian sugar factory in Petöhaza and the Czech fruit processing facility in Kaplice will, however, cause operating profit after exceptional items (restructuring) to ease slightly from the prior year.

This press release and the report on the first three quarters of 2007|08 are available in German and English on the Internet at http://www.agrana.com/

 

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