VIENNA, AUSTRIA — AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG reported on Jan. 13 that profit was down 25% to €82 million ($96.8 million) for the first nine months of the 2014-15 fiscal year.
That compares to €102.6 million for the same period a year ago. Revenue was down 15.3% to €1.91 billion. Earnings per share attributable to AGRANA shareholders were €5.45 compared to €6.80 a year ago.
While the Starch segment came close to matching year-earlier results, the company said pressure prices on the Sugar segment and one-time structural effects in the Fruit segment led to the significant reductions.
Operating profit (EBIT) was €124.4 million, a decrease of 18.5% from the first nine months of the prior year. The continued erosion of sugar prices, combined with non-recurring exceptional expenses for restructuring at the Austrian fruit preparations site in Kröllendorf, weighed on the group's profitability.
“We are prepared for the situation in the Sugar segment to deteriorate further in the next several months,” said AGRANA Chief Executive Officer Johann Marihart. “In times like these, our diversification clearly proves its worth, with the Starch and Fruit segments lending stability to our Group results. To safeguard AGRANA's long-term business performance, we will remain true to this strategy going forward.”
Revenue in the Starch segment in the first nine months of was €535.4 million, or 2.3% below the year-ago value. The decrease was attributable mainly to lower selling prices, which were not fully offset by higher sales volumes. At €45.5 million, EBIT was up 7.1% year-on-year and the EBIT profit margin expanded by almost one percentage point to 8.5% thanks to lower raw material and energy prices.