AGRANA – A SUCCESSFUL 3rd QUARTER 2003/04Date: 15.01.2004
Q1 – Q3 2003/04
During the third quarter of the current financial year lasting from 1 September through 30 November 2003, we were able to sustain the Group’s satisfactory development during the second quarter. Sales revenues were € 10.0 million or 4.5 per cent up on the same quarter of the previous year, and third-quarter operating profit increased by nearly 4 per cent to € 24.7 million, although revenues during the first three quarters of the 2003/04 financial year (1 March through 30 November) were € 26.5 million or 3.8 per cent down on the same period of the previous year at € 663.2 million. That was however due to the relocation of the balance-sheet dates of the AGRANA International subsidiaries in 2002/03, which added two months to their 2002/03 financial years. Based on genuinely comparable periods, revenues increased by € 13.8 million or 2.1 per cent. The Group posted operating profit of € 62.7 million during the first three quarters of 2003/04, which was € 10.6 million down on the first three quarters of the previous financial year or € 7.4 million down on the year based on genuinely comparable periods. The decline in operat-ing profit took place within the AGRANA International subsidiaries, whose markets performed less well than in 2002/03 in both quantity and price terms. Weather-related increases in raw material prices also had a detrimental impact, especially when it came to maize sourcing in Austria and Hungary.
Figures for the first half of the current financial year and the first half of 2002/03:
(1 March – 30 November)
|1st–3rd Quarter2003/04||1st–3rd Quar-ter2002/03|
|Profit before tax||€mn||59.5||72.8|
(after allowing for minority interests)
|Investments in tangible non-current assets
|€mn||51.8 (planned)||49.7 (planned)|
|Investments in tangible non-current assets
(1st – 3rd Quarter)
Profit from investing and financial activities in the first three quarters of the current financial year was just under € 4 million down on 2002/03. The fall-off was due to the absence of exceptional income from the sale of interests (2002/03: sale of shares in Leipnik-Lundenburger Invest Be-teiligungs AG) and the adverse development of a number of CEEC currencies versus the euro.
Since the 2003/04 financial year of the AGRANA International subsidiaries will be of normal length (12 months, as against 14 months in 2002/03) and given the extremely low world market price of C sugar in euro terms as a result of the strong euro, we expect our revenues during the 2003/04 financial year (inclusive of Vallø Saft) to be marginally down on the year. The unsatisfactory state of our AGRANA International markets, the poor supply of raw materials in the wake of adverse weather conditions (low sugar volumes, low potato starch volumes, higher maize prices) and the homogenized 12-month financial year of all the AGRANA International subsidiaries lead us to ex-pect a 13 per cent fall in operating profit compared with 2002/03.
Soon after the start of the fourth quarter of the current financial year, namely on 11 December 2003, AGRANA announced its plans to gradually take over the ATYS Group, which is domiciled in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, France. The ATYS Group is the world’s leader in fruit preparations for use by the processing industries. It boasts annual turnover of approximately € 400 million and oper-ates 20 factories in 16 countries spread across all five continents. Signature of the contracts is planned for the end of January 2004 and is subject to approval by the competition regulators.
Raw Materials and Harvests
The extremely dry summer dented the beet and potato harvests in the autumn of 2003. Group-wide, 636,100 metric tons of sugar (previous year: 765,000 metric tons of sugar) were extracted from 4.2 million metric tons of beet (previous year: 5.3 million metric tons of beet) during the 2003 campaign, and we also made an additional 139,000 metric tons of sugar (previous year: 144,000 metric tons of sugar) from imported unrefined sugar in Romania. That brought AGRANA’s total sugar production up to 775,100 metric tons (previous year: 909,000 metric tons).
The Potato Starch Division extracted 32,450 metric tons of potato starch (previous year: 40,100 metric tons of potato starch) from 149,500 metric tons of industrial starch potatoes (previous year: 200,000 metric tons of industrial starch potatoes).
The dry weather led to poor harvests throughout Europe. The production of potato starch in the EU fell was 300,000 metric tons down on the year. Aggregate beet sugar output in the EU will be nearly 10 per cent down on the previous year’s figure of 18.2 million metric tons at 16.5 million metric tons.
The starch factory at Aschach will be processing 270,000 metric tons of maize this financial year (previous financial year: 267,000 metric tons).