Südzucker on road to recovery
On July 21, 2009, shareholders of Mannheim-based Südzucker AG Mannheim/Ochsenfurt voted in favor of the supervisory and executive boards' recommendation to pay an unchanged dividend of EUR 0.40 per share. Based on the value of the company shares of EUR 13.66 at the close of the financial year, the yield on Südzucker shares is thus just under 3 %.
For the current 2009/10 fiscal year, the executive board has confirmed its forecast, based on business development in the first quarter of 2009/10. For the group overall, revenues are expected to again reach EUR 5.9 billion. Consolidated group operating profit is expected to increase EUR 258 million to about EUR 400 million.In the sugar segment, production, and therefore also the amount of sugar available for sale, declined as a result of the quota surrenders. Südzucker has been able to partly offset the decline by entering into a cooperation agreement with Mauritius. As of the middle of the financial year, about 400,000 tonnes of sugar will be imported annually to the EU under the terms of the contract. Forecasts for the sugar beet harvest in 2009 are significantly above last year due to favorable weather conditions for beet growth. Profit growth is being primarily driven by the elimination of temporary charges, such as the EU restructuring levy, and other cost savings, which now are offset by only the final reduction of the factory markup for sugar. Südzucker is thus expecting the sugar segment's operating profit to again rise substantially.
Südzucker expects the special products segment's revenues to rise slightly, driven by sales growth. Volatile energy and commodity prices will weigh on the profits of the segment; however, overall operating profit is expected to continue to rise.
The CropEnergies segment's revenue development will be driven by the capacity expansions in Germany and Belgium, entry into the French market and an increase in production to over 600,000 cubic meters of bioethanol annually. With revenues rising significantly, operating profit is expected to be higher than last year.Südzucker expects the fruit segment's overall revenues to rise slightly and operating profit to recover dramatically.
Supervisory board member Ernst Wechsler resigned from his position effective the end of the annual general meeting on July 21, 2009. Georg Koch, a resident of Wabern, will take his place after being elected as a supervisory board shareholder representative for the remaining term of the current supervisory board; that is, to the end of the annual general meeting at which the decision on ratification for the 2011/12 financial year is made.
Also as of the end of the annual general meeting and just prior to his 65th birthday, the spokesman of the executive board of Südzucker AG, Dr. Theo Spettmann, will retire. He will be succeeded by Dr. Wolfgang Heer, who has been a member of Südzucker's executive board since March 1, 2008.