DGAP-News: BayWa AG: Strong first quarter with leap in earnings

 DGAP-News: BayWa AG: Strong first quarter with leap in earnings  DGAP-News: BayWa AG / Key word(s): Quarter Results BayWa AG: Strong first quarter with leap in earnings  08.05.2014 / 09:00  ---------------------------------------------------------------------  BayWa AG: Strong first quarter with leap in earnings  BayWa AG has had a successful start to the financial year 2014. The internationally active trading and services company was able to improve its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by EUR11.7 million, generating an operating result of EUR4.3 million (2013: EUR-7.4 million). In the first three months of the year, BayWa's business benefited from the mild weather and strong international business. With revenues on par with the previous year of around EUR3.6 billion (2013: EUR3.7 billion), BayWa AG was able to attain a significantly better operating result than usual for this period. The first quarter usually sees negative growth due to seasonal influences.  "The unusually mild winter was very positive for the Agriculture and Building Materials Segments. The business with agricultural equipment, operating resources and building materials benefited from the earlier start to the season," Klaus Josef Lutz, Chief Executive Officer of BayWa AG, explained. Internationalisation also played a key role in the positive earnings development in the first quarter, he said. The trading activities of Dutch subsidiary Cefetra and the global project business in the field of renewable energies made a significant contribution to this.  While he emphasized that the first three months are only of limited informative value for the result of the year as a whole owing to the seasonal influences on BayWa's business performance, Lutz highlighted the positive expectations for the current financial year: "The positive start in the Agriculture and Building Materials Segments reinforces the target of increasing revenues and earnings year on year once again by the end of 2014."  Weather and internationalisation boost agriculture business The Agriculture Segment, which comprises trading in agricultural operating resources and produce as well as the Agricultural Equipment and Fruit business units, generated revenues of around EUR2.6 billion. This equates to a decline of 4.4%, primarily as a result of lower grain and fertiliser prices. The operating result (EBIT) rose considerably year on year by 35.5% to EUR28.6 million. Strong business performance by Cefetra and the full-year consolidation of Bohnhorst for the first time contributed to this rise in earnings (initial consolidation as per 1 June 2013).  The advanced development of vegetation had a particular impact on the sale of operating resources such as fertilisers, seed and crop protection. However, revenues in Agricultural Trade fell by 5.9% to around EUR2.2 billion. The reason for this was the decline in fertiliser and grain prices. In terms of the operating result, international trading activities had a particularly important role to play: The Dutch holding Cefetra capitalised on high turnover volumes on the world market to double its earnings contribution year on year. The Bohnhorst Group also recorded positive business performance, resulting in an overall year-on-year increase in the Agricultural Trade business unit's EBIT of 20.6% to EUR23.3 million.  In the agricultural equipment business, BayWa exceeded the good figures from the first quarter of the previous year. Alongside the high level of orders on hand for new machinery from 2013, sales of used machinery also increased. Revenues in the Agricultural Equipment business unit rose correspondingly by 10.2% to a total of EUR269.5 million. In addition to the early start to the season, stable business at workshops also had an impact, improving the business unit's EBIT by EUR5.4 million. Following the previous year's decline, EBIT totalled EUR3.3 million as per 31 March 2014. "Sentiment in agriculture is very positive. The good start to the new year is raising expectations for yields here in Germany. What's more, the Ukraine crisis and the unstable weather conditions in the US are currently leading to an increase in grain prices on the global market. On account of global demand, we also expect stable, high prices going forward," Klaus Josef Lutz explained.  The Group's fruit trading activities were successful on international markets. The business was boosted by high sales volumes at New Zealand majority holding Turners & Growers Limited from the current fruit harvest in the southern hemisphere. However, volumes sold from the German apple harvest in the fall of 2013 were below the prior-year figures. All in all, against the backdrop of stable prices, the Fruit business unit generated revenues of EUR115.8 million in the first quarter, nearly matching the previous year's total (EUR119 million). Earnings were unable to match the previous year's figures. The poor fruit harvest in Germany last year and lower trade margins meant that the operating result for the first quarter in 2014 came to EUR2.0 million, down by EUR1.9 million on the previous year's figure. This shortfall in earnings is likely to be recovered over the course of the year with the help of the fruit business in the southern hemisphere. Due to the promising development of vegetation so far, high yields are expected in the upcoming German fruit harvest that will give the business unit extra impetus through to the end of the year.  Project business with renewable energies bolsters Energy The Energy Segment comprises the trading activities in fossil and renewable heating fuels, fuels and lubricants as well as its business in renewable energies, which is pooled in BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH. Compared to the first quarter of 2013, revenues in the Energy Segment were down by 4.5% to EUR697.4 million. At EUR-0.2 million, EBIT was down by EUR2.2 million year on year.  In the field of renewable energies, the Group profited from the double diversification of business activities by products and by regions. Lacklustre performance in trade with solar modules in Continental Europe was offset by the recovery of demand in the solar business in the US. In addition, the project development business of BayWa r.e. was successful. For example, three solar parks were commissioned in Germany and the UK with a total output of 30.8 MW. Revenues in the BayWa r.e. renewable energy business sector increased year on year by 30.2% to EUR96.0 million. The operating result fell by EUR2.5 million to EUR0.1 million, however, due to investments in new projects. "We will realise additional project sales over the remaining course of the year. We expect the framework conditions for the industry in Germany to improve as a result of the EEG amendment. Combined with the good international market development for renewable energies, we are optimistic that we will meet our targets in 2014," Lutz estimated.  In the traditional trading and distribution business, revenues fell in light of the good weather by 8.4% to EUR601.3 million, primarily as a result of the decline in heating oil prices and sales volume. Boosted by the dynamic development in agriculture and the construction sector in Germany, sales of fuels and lubricants rose. The business unit's EBIT rose correspondingly year on year to EUR-0.3 million as per 31 March 2014 (2013: EUR-0.6 million).  Building materials business benefits from mild weather The Building Materials Segment comprises Group trading activities involving building materials in Germany and Austria. The lack of winter weather led to an unusually early start to the building materials season and a 6.6% rise in revenues to EUR278.6 million in the first three months of the year. Construction and civil engineering products benefited in particular from the framework conditions. The transport business, which comprises the direct supply of mass building materials such as bricks and concrete to construction sites, also grew. The widespread lack of ground frost had a beneficial effect on road construction and gardening. Overall, earnings were significantly improved and the typical loss was more than halved. As per 31 March 2014, the segment's EBIT, which is generally negative in this season, came to EUR-13.3 million (2013: EUR-26.7 million). Thanks to this solid start to the year, the Group is confident of achieving the targeted increase in the annual result for 2014 in the Building Materials Segment.     Contact: Marion Danneboom, BayWa AG, Head of PR/Corporate Communication,  tel. +49 (0)89/92 22-36 80, Fax +49 (0)89/92 22-36 98,  e-mail: marion.danneboom@baywa.de    End of Corporate News  ---------------------------------------------------------------------  08.05.2014 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a company of EQS Group AG. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.  DGAP's Distribution Services include Regulatory Announcements, Financial/Corporate News and Press Releases. Media archive at www.dgap-medientreff.de and www.dgap.de  ---------------------------------------------------------------------   Language:    English                                                     Company:     BayWa AG                                                                 Arabellastraße 4                                                         81925 München                                                            Germany                                                     Phone:       089/ 9222-3691                                              Fax:         089/ 9222-3698                                              E-mail:      marion.danneboom@baywa.de                                   Internet:    www.baywa.de                                                ISIN:        DE0005194062, DE0005194005,                                 WKN:         519406, 519400,                                             Indices:     SDAX                                                        Listed:      Regulierter Markt in Frankfurt (Prime Standard), München;                Freiverkehr in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hannover,                    Stuttgart                                                       End of News    DGAP News-Service   ---------------------------------------------------------------------   267193 08.05.2014                                                        
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