TULLN (pa). Overview of the first three quarters of 2020 | 21
- Sales: € 1,965.3 million (+ 4.6%; previous year: € 1,879.4 million)
- EBIT: € 84.3 million (+ 20.8%; previous year: € 69.8 million)
- EBIT margin: 4.3% (previous year: 3.7%)
- Group result: € 53.8 million (+24.8%; previous year: € 43.1 million) Equity ratio: 53.4% (February 29, 2020: 54.4%)
Outlook for 2020 as a whole | 21
- Forecast for full year 2020 | 21 with EBIT at least at the previous year’s level and sales slightly above previous year is confirmed
- Diversification through the three segments of fruit, starch and sugar supports stable corporate development
After the first three quarters of the 2020 | 21 financial year, the fruit, starch and sugar group AGRANA achieved an EBIT of € 84.3 million. AGRANA CEO Johann Marihart said:
The decisive factors for the improvement in earnings were a good business development in bioethanol – especially in the third quarter – as well as an earnings improvement in the sugar segment due to higher sugar sales and volumes. Nevertheless, the sugar EBIT remained negative, particularly due to underutilized sugar factories – especially in Austria – and the resulting idle costs. In the fruit segment, the result of the fruit preparations business in the first three quarters was well above the previous year’s level.
The performance in the fruit juice concentrate business, on the other hand, was significantly weaker due to the lower availability of quantities from last year’s apple harvest. “
Business development in the fruit segment
Heels stable. This was mainly the result of higher prices for fruit juice concentrates, but also higher apple prices. EBIT in the fruit segment reached € 41.3 million after nine months and was thus 10.0% below the previous year’s figure.
The improved fruit preparation result was the main reason for the deterioration in the fruit juice concentrates business unit with lower delivery quantities combined with lower profit margins for apple juice concentrate from the 2019 harvest. Margins are also under pressure for colored juice concentrates and apple juice concentrate from the 2020 harvest.
Sales in the fruit segment in the first three quarters were € 891.7 million
Previous year’s level. Sales of fruit preparations remained unchanged and sales of the fruit juice concentrates division were moderately higher than in the previous year
Sales in the starch segment in the first three quarters of € 620.8 million were slightly above the previous year. Significant increases in volume and sales were achieved with wheat starch due to the capacity expansion in Pischelsdorf, Austria.
The market demand for almost all main products declined due to COVID and led to increased supply pressure. One of the effects of the pandemic was that ethanol prices were highly volatile. A massive price drop in March 2020 in the course of the first lockdown was followed by a price recovery in the course of the second quarter of the financial year due to the renewed increase in the volume of individual traffic, which culminated in an all-time high of over € 800 per m3 of ethanol in September; in December, prices fell back to below € 500 per m3. At € 58.5 million, EBIT in the Starch segment was slightly above the previous year’s figure.
The result was determined by the high sales prices for ethanol, while the margins of the other main products declined due to reduced market demand.
Sales in the sugar segment increased by 18.2% in the first three quarters to € 452.8 million compared to the previous year. Both higher sugar sales prices and increased sugar sales volumes, particularly in the retail sector, contributed to this. In the first three quarters, EBIT was still negative at € -15.5 million, but improved significantly compared to the same period in the previous year (€ -33.4 million) thanks to a more favorable sales price environment.
Taking into account the ongoing effects of the coronavirus crisis, AGRANA expects Group EBIT for 2020 | 21 as a whole at least at the previous year’s level. A slight increase is expected in consolidated sales. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the associated high volatility in all segments, the forecast for the year as a whole continues to be characterized by a very high level of uncertainty.
The Group’s investment volume in the 2020 | 21 financial year is expected to be around € 76 million after the high investments made in previous years, which is well below the depreciation level of around € 120 million.