VIENNA, AUSTRIA — AGRANA reported on May 17 that profit was down slightly to €80.9 million ($91.54 million) for the year from March 1, 2015 to Feb. 29, 2016, compared to €84.6 million in the previous year. 

Operating profit, however, increased to €129 million from €121.7 million, and earnings per share were also up to €5.82 from €5.70 in the prior year. 

Net financial items in the 2015-16 financial year amounted to a net expense of €24.5 million (prior year: net expense of € 5.2 million); the significant negative year-on-year change was attributable to net foreign exchange losses caused by depreciation in the currencies of Argentina, Brazil, China, Mexico and Russia. Profit before tax decreased from the prior year's €116.5 million to €104.4 million.

Revenue for the year was €2.477 billion, down 0.6% from €2.493 billion in the same period of last year. The company attributes the decline in revenue to low sugar prices.

Revenue in the Starch segment for 2015-16 was €721.6 million, up 3.1% from €700.1 million in the same period of last year. Among other areas, the revenue growth was achieved in the bioethanol business on higher selling prices and in starch derivatives thanks to higher sales volumes, AGRANA said. 

Operating profit for the Starch segment for the year was €65.9 million, up 21.8% from €54 million in the same period of last year. The company said the earnings increase was explained both by revenue growth thanks to product sales prices and sales volumes, and by lower raw material and energy prices.   

“With its sound finances and diversified business model built on, Sugar, Starch and Fruit segments, AGRANA considers itself well positioned for the new financial year,” Johann Marihart, AGRANA’s chief executive officer (CEO), said. “For the 2016-17 financial year, we currently expect both group revenue and operating profit to show a moderate increase.”

In 2016-17, the total investment in the three business segments, about €114 million, will significantly exceed depreciation of just under €90 million, the company said.