Continuation of the long-term growth strategy / Targets met for fiscal 2009/2010 / Dividend raised by €0.10 to €1.90
(lifePR) (Einbeck, )The shareholders of KWS SAAT AG (ISIN: DE0007074007), one of the leading international plant breeding companies, voted by a large majority (each over 99%) in favor of all items on the agenda at today's Annual Shareholders' Meeting. The financial statements for fiscal 2009/2010 were approved and the dividend raised by €0.10 over the previous year's to €1.90 per share. The shareholders expressed their trust in the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board by ratifying their acts by a large majority. In addition, the introduction of a long-term incentive in the new compensation system for the Executive Board met with widespread approval. The advantages and disadvantages of different agricultural cultivation methods were discussed, as was the use of genetic engineering in plant breeding.
Research and development secure KWS' future viability
The KWS Group's net sales in fiscal 2009/2010 rose by 5% to €754.1 million despite the economic crisis and sharp fluctuations in prices for agricultural raw materials. The success of modern plant breeding - with an increase in yields of up to 2 percent a year - depends in large part on intensive work in research and development. The 9% increase in expenditures for product development was earned through operational growth. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) improved by 6% to €82.4 million, corresponding to a double-digit return on sales (ROS) of about 11%. "Corn remains our growth segment. In addition, the high world market prices for sugar are encouraging an increase in sugarbeet cultivation areas. Sales of herbicide-tolerant Roundup Ready® sugarbeet in the U.S. also went well. Only our cereal business was not able to match the good level of net sales from the previous year, due to lower world market prices at the time of the fall 2009 planting season," said Philip von dem Bussche, CEO of KWS SAAT AG, in explaining the company's performance in fiscal 2009/2010. The number of employees worldwide rose by 9% to an average of 3,492 (previous year: 3,215).
Outlook: KWS keeps on growing
KWS has started the new fiscal year by posting higher net sales and income. The company is further expanding its research and development activities so as to be able to offer farmers even higher-yielding seed. At the same time, the Group aims to retain its good earnings position. "Overall, we expect the KWS Group to increase its net sales and income by approximately 5% for fiscal 2010/2011 as a whole," said CFO Hagen Duenbostel about the company's forecast for the current fiscal year.