Südzucker raises dividend
On 1 August 2013, shareholders at the annual general meeting of Südzucker AG Mannheim/Ochsenfurt voted in favor of the supervisory and executive boards' recommendation to increase the dividend to EUR 0.90 (previous year: 0.70) per share. The decision was made with due consideration to the operating profit and cash flow achieved and reflects the company's excellent performance in fiscal 2012/13. Given the higher share capital than last year, comprising 204.2 instead of 189.4 million shares, the total distribution will be a significantly higher EUR 183.8 million. Last year the total distribution was EUR 132.1 million.
Consolidated group revenues for fiscal 2013/14 are still expected to rise slightly, to about EUR 8.0 (previous year: 7.9) billion. Continuously rising commodity costs will drive down the sugar, special products and CropEnergies segments' earnings. The CropEnergies segment's operating profit is now expected to come in between EUR 40 and 50 million after taking into consideration the startup and integration costs associated with last July's acquisition of British bioethanol producer Ensus Limited. The fruit segment's operating profit is expected to rise sharply. Integrating Ensus into the CropEnergies segment and this year's business performance to date will make reaching the forecast consolidated group operating profit of about EUR 825 (previous year: 974) million more challenging. The generally sluggish economic environment is presenting an additional challenge.
Executive board member Prof. Dr. Markwart Kunz (64) retired as of the end of the annual general meeting. Kunz was responsible for the engineering and R&D portfolios. He will be succeeded by Dr. Lutz Guderjahn (48), who joined Südzucker's executive board on 17 July 2012. He was previously a board member of Südzucker subsidiary CropEnergies AG.
Guderjahn became a member of CropEnergies AG's executive board in 2006, when Südzucker Group established the bioethanol segment and listed the subsidiary on the stock exchange. He earned a PhD in chemistry in Braunschweig, Germany, and joined Südzucker in 1995. His initial job responsibilities included positions in production, the central research and development division and the functional food segment (BENEO-Palatinit).