Südzucker meets expectations
Südzucker AG Mannheim/Ochsenfurt consolidated revenues rose 10 % to EUR 1.47 (last year: 1.34) billion and operating profit climbed 18 % to EUR 63 (last year: 54) million in the first quarter (March 1 to May 31, 2008). The results were in line with expectations. Südzucker confirmed the forecast for the current 2008/09 financial year, projecting revenues of between EUR 5.6 and 5.8 (last year: 5.8) billion and an operating profit of between EUR 230 and 260 (last year: 233) million.
First-quarter revenue growth was generated almost equally by the sugar and special products segments, but the consolidated operating profit improvement originated exclusively in the sugar segment. The special products segment was hit by higher commodity prices, especially the starch division. The increases have yet to fully flow through to the bioethanol division's results. The fruit segment was able to keep its operating profit steady despite slightly lower revenues and higher raw material prices.
Income from operations in the first quarter came in at EUR 181.2 (last year: 30.2) million. This consists of the operating profit of EUR 63.2 (last year: 53.6) million plus the results of restructuring and special items of EUR 118.0 (last year: -23.4) million stemming from the quota surrendered to the restructuring fund. Earnings per share rose to EUR 0.57 (last year: 0.03).
The workforce shrank to 18,043 (last year: 19,092), mainly because of sugar factory closures.
On July 29, 2008, the executive and supervisory boards will recommend to the annual general meeting that a dividend of EUR 0.40 (last year: 0.55) per share be distributed.