We are familiar with our stakeholders’ needs because we listen to them. We shape and improve our value chain together with our partners while pursuing economic, ecological and social goals in equal measure. With our beet growers and our customers in particular, we therefore pursue an ongoing dialogue which focuses on expectations, challenges and our common future.
highlights 2017 | 2018
Euro net income
Euro cash flow from operating activities
Sugar production Nordzucker group
in millions of tonnes
in EUR m
|Return on revenues4||%||8.5||1.1||1.0||5.6||7.0|
|Return on equity5||%||14.5||1.6||1.2||7.0||8.0|
|Cash flow operating
activities per share
|Earnings (Group) per share7||EUR||4.17||0.43||0.32||2.00||2.38|
|Dividend per share8||EUR||1.30||0.10||0.10||1.10||1.209|
|Total dividend||EUR m||62.8||4.8||4.8||53.1||58.09|
1 EBIT / Average capital employed
2 EBIT / Revenues
3 EBITDA / Revenues
4 Net income / Revenues
5 Net income / Equity
6 Net debt / EBITDA
7 Total income / Number of shares
8 Total dividend / Number of shares
Key financial figures
|Net income for the period||EUR m||209||20||15||99||118|
|Cash flow from operating activities||EUR m||285||135||199||268||219|
|Cash flow from investing activities||EUR m||-75||-79||-65||-119||-169|
|Free cash flow1||EUR m||210||56||134||149||50|
|Investment in property, plant
and equipment and intangible assets
1 Cash flow from operating activities + Cash flow from investing activities
Balance sheet ratio at the end of the financial year
|Total assets||EUR m||2,337||2,144||2,013||2,117||2,183|
|Shareholders' equity||EUR m||1,386||1,272||1,278||1,375||1,429|
|Debt capital||EUR m||951||872||734||742||754|
|Capital Employed||EUR m||1,701||1,660||1,600||1,500||1,511|
|Financial liabilities||EUR m||6||7||7||12||4|
|Cash and cash equivalents||EUR m||58||45||172||322||307|
|Net debt (cash and cash equivalents less financial liabilities)1||EUR m||52||37||164||308||301|
1 Cash and cash equivalents - Financial liabilities
Beet cultivation and campaign
|Sugar production||millions of tonnes||2.50||2.91||2.00||2.50||2.7|
We are a reliable and competent partner. We listen and contribute our efforts, knowledge and expertise to achieve success together.
Dr Lars Gorissen
Letter from the executive board
Nordzucker has ended the 2017/2018 financial year with very strong results. We have achieved an operating result of EUR 153.7 million, compared to EUR 131.4 million in the previous year, and a net income of EUR 117.8 million, compared to EUR 99.1 million. Despite the rapid drop in prices in the EU that began at the end of the financial year, revenues only declined by around three per cent and amounted to EUR 1.6 billion. With an equity ratio of 66 per cent, our capital resources remain very solid.
2017/2018 was the long-anticipated year of transformation in the sugar market – a once-in-a-lifetime event. After almost 50 years of a regulated EU sugar market, the market environment has now changed significantly.
Sugar prices on the world market fell drastically by more than 40 per cent in the last financial year. This price decline resulted due to a forecast global production surplus of around eight million tonnes in the 2017/2018 sugar marketing year. A surplus of a further five million tonnes is expected for 2018/2019. Worldwide stocks will thus once again increase.
Due to imports under the EU’s free trade agreements and the unlimited export opportunities, the global price trend is directly shaping the market situation in the EU and the sugar price trend in Europe. The significant rise in EU sugar production in the 2017/2018 campaign is also increasing the level of competition and price pressure.
In the current year, we anticipate a very tense price situation on the European sugar market, which will result in a clear decline in our earnings. This highly competitive period of low prices is the result of the EU market liberalization in connection with extremely low world market prices and will lead to further consolidation on the European sugar market.
Nonetheless, we are confident going forward and are convinced that we will emerge strengthened from this low-price period of increased competition. Our core market is Europe. It is key to maintain existing customers here by increasing customer loyalty and to gain new customers. We also want to grow outside the EU together with our internationally active customers. As one of the largest sugar producers, we are continuously optimizing our processes and investing in logistics, energy efficiency, quality and environmental protection. We have high standards in terms of our customer focus and sustainability. Above all, however, we are a reliable and competent partner.
We demonstrated this once again in the 2017/2018 campaign. Together with everyone involved in harvesting and transporting the beet, our plant employees coped in exemplary fashion with a campaign that was challenging due to the weather. We can look back on good yields and an almost entirely trouble-free beet processing campaign. A strong level of coordination is a prerequisite here. This high-performing cooperation throughout the supply chain defines Nordzucker and is one of our key strengths. Nordzucker will continue to develop and grow. In the EU, growth is only possible through a redistribution of market shares. While sugar consumption is largely stagnating here, worldwide it is growing by between 1.5 and two per cent per year. We will therefore continue to position ourselves on the world market and become a company that quite naturally operates globally – through exports and with production locations in other parts of the world.
We will address future issues in a targeted manner, together with our customers and our beet growers. We are preparing our company for the future through a large number of projects, from the start of production of organic sugar from German beet to the use of digitalization in the field with our AgriPortal and our digital cultivation advice.
Sugar and health are currently a public and political talking point. We provide objective information clearly and resolutely, while countering prejudices. This also contributes to a more objective debate: We stand for balanced nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle and a balance between calorie intake and calorie use. It is important to us to educate people here.
With our well-trained, international and highly motivated team, we will identify and exploit the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us. Together, we will continuously develop Nordzucker through our dedication and passion.
We would like to thank you, our shareholders, for the trust which you have placed in us. In dialogue with one another, let us forge a successful future together.
The Executive Board/p>
Dr Lars Gorissen
How is Nordzuckercoping with the current
Dr Lars Gorissen:
In the past few years, thanks to cost discipline, improved efficiency and new systems for the procurement of raw materials, Nordzucker has established a solid basis to support it through volatile periods and phases characterized by low sugar prices. With an equity ratio of 66 per cent, we now have a fundamentally solid financial position. The coming period will be challenging for the entire industry, though. Realistic planning in terms of the market and our customers, thinking that encapsulates various scenarios and effective risk management will enable us to emerge from this difficult market phase stronger. However, in spite of all of our solid preparatory activities, the way ahead will be arduous and there will also be setbacks.
Will beet cultivation remain attractive in future?
Dr Lars Gorissen:
Certainly, yes. Sugar beet is improving its level of sugar yields every year and makes a positive contribution to the farmer’s operating result. Beet is also competitive by comparison with other cultures. However, the decision to ban neonicotinoids and possible further pesticide bans might result in a loss in yield. In our cultivation advice, we will therefore focus on how to alleviate the negative effects for beet cultivation. Moreover, crop protection research and the regulatory authorities must now rapidly develop alternatives. Irrespective of this, its many advantages – such as its important role in crop rotation – mean that beet is and will remain a key crop in our growing regions.
Customers demand quality and sustainability – what is Nordzucker doing to achieve this?
We maintain close contact with our customers. Certified quality and sustainable production come as a matter of course for us. Within the scope of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI), together with our customers we have developed sustainability standards for beet cultivation and required our growers to obtain certification of their compliance with these standards. Our customers greatly appreciate this approach.
Are jobs at Nordzucker still attractive?
Nordzucker offers a large number of jobs for a wide range of qualifications throughout the value chain, from the field to the customer. For instance, it is an exciting and responsible task to work with others to keep a sugar plant running for a period of around 130 days while preparing it for this over the remainder of the year through maintenance measures and investments. We require engineers and specialists from a large number of fields for this. As a major European company, in every area of our business we offer the benefits of international exchange. Our business model is oriented towards the future. We are continuously working on improving and optimizing our processes and structures. We have always done this – not just since the regulated market was abolished. We have an outstanding and dedicated team. Their level of dedication is infectious.
is a journey
As a food manufacturer with close links to agriculture, Nordzucker assumes responsibility for the environment and society. For us, sustainability means achieving continuous improvements and pursuing social and ecological goals alongside economic objectives. Our activities are based on a dialogue with our partners throughout the value chain, which begins in the field and ends on the plate. Through communication, we identify trends and inquire about needs. We determine goals and measures on this basis.
We are establishing sustainability throughout our value chain.
Dr Lars Gorissen
Sustainability is a long-standing tradition at Nordzucker. We are a trail-blazer.
We are not only a supplier, but also a conversation partner and an adviser.
We consulted our beet growers, our customers and other stakeholders within the scope of a sustainability-related materiality analysis and discussed key development issues with them. The following core topics were identified here: product quality and product safety, responsibility in the debate over sugar and nutrition, climate change and sustainable agriculture. We will focus even more strongly on these issues in future.
„These core areas came as no surprise to us. However, thanks to this analysis we now have a better idea of the expectations of our customers and consumers, our beet growers and those who live near our plants when it comes to sustainability. Much of this already reflects our ambitious sustainability goals and shows us where we can jointly achieve more,” says Dr Lars Gorissen.
What is important?
In 2017, Nordzucker implemented a materiality analysis in the area of sustainability. Through structured interviews, employees, customers, beet growers and representatives of NGOs and associations were asked for their views on current and future sustainability topics at Nordzucker. This analysis has once more confirmed our priority areas in an impressive way. In our dedication to sustainability, we will thus focus even more strongly on goals and measures in the areas that are considered particularly relevant: product quality and safety, sugar and nutrition, climate change and sustainable agriculture.
Materiality analysisEvaluation by different stakeholder groups 2017
High-quality and safe
“Our customers have their own visions and goals. We aim to help them to develop their business. We see ourselves not just as a supplier, but also as a conversation partner and an adviser. Through our expertise, we help our customers to identify better solutions – whether in logistics or new recipes. Naturally, our customers expect proof of the quality and sustainability of our products and processes,” says Erik Bertelsen, Chief Marketing Officer. “We produce a food product. For that reason alone, we already have a huge responsibility. Certifications, internal and external audits, clearly defined workflows and a high level of quality awareness on the part of our employees are therefore essential for us. Moreover, sustainability is a tradition at Nordzucker. For instance, for almost 30 years we have been a trail-blazer in terms of certifications”, adds Axel Aumüller, Chief Operating Officer.
Sugar tastes good
Sugar is a natural component of a balanced diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. The point is to achieve a balance between calorie intake and calorie use. Common sense and, of course, knowledge about food, nutrition and calorie use are frequently helpful here. Sugar has many functions and is more than just sweet: it is also a flavour carrier, provides structure in bakery products and is a natural preservative “Unfortunately, in our post-industrial society, knowledge of where food comes from and how to prepare it has frequently been lost. Our mission is to increase awareness of sugar’s role in balanced nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle. It is calories rather than the individual nutrients that determine body weight,” says Axel Aumüller.
Less energy – fewer emissions
Climate change is one of the greatest risks for our environment and is mainly attributable to industrialization and transportation. CO2 emissions contribute to the greenhouse effect and thus global warming. Forecasts assume a further rise in temperatures with effects on the global ecosystem and agriculture and thus the future nutrition of the world’s population. Reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions is therefore not merely a political objective but also represents a commitment for Nordzucker. “We have already reduced our production process-related CO2 emissions by 65 per cent on 1990 levels. This is a considerable success, which we owe above all to our investments in improved technologies. However, we are far from having achieved our goal. We are currently drafting a long-term action plan with the objective of changing over our entire production system to renewable energy, in line with the political agenda, by no later than 2050. That is a massive undertaking,” remarks Axel Aumüller.
Group’s sustainable beet cultivation confirmed
Nordzucker has had SAI Farm Sustainability Assessments undertake a step-by-step sustainability review of beet cultivation in all of its beet-growing countries. In February 2018, this process was completed for all of Nordzucker’s countries and a new milestone was thus reached.
The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI) is a global initiative that aims to encourage the development of sustainable agriculture. More than seventy of the world’s leading food and beverage producers support SAI, including Unilever, Danone, Coca Cola, Mondelez, Nestlé and McDonalds.
Nordzucker has been speaking to customers about sustainable agriculture for many years. Since then, we have played a key role in the development of this uniform benchmark and are an official SAI member.
As a next step, we will develop these standards together with our partners at SAI. We will rely on the feedback provided by our beet growers for this purpose, since they are the ones who fulfil the relevant standard and obtain certifications.
A product of nature
Our sugar is based on a natural fruit, the sugar beet. Our business model depends on its growing, prospering and delivering good yields. Innovations in the areas of cultivation, crop protection and fertilization and our advice on how to improve cultivation methods have demonstrably increased our growers’ beet yields per hectare over the last few years. At the same time, use of nitrogen fertilizers has been halved within a period of 30 years. Increased yields in the field have a clearly positive impact on our environmental footprint and on CO2 emissions during harvest and transportation. Over the past few decades, cultivation has turned sugar beet into a robust plant that is always attractive by comparison with other field crops. Beet helps protect the soil and the water supply and to preserve biodiversity, including through its significant role in crop rotation. “Beet is a raw material that is truly impressive in terms of sustainability criteria,” says Dr Lars Gorissen.
“For me, sustainable thinking and action comes naturally in daily business – this is a journey that entails clear but also ever new objectives we must consistently follow through on. Sugar comes from nature, and this establishes a close link with sustainability. While a company is concerned with earning a profit, that is by no means its sole objective. We have a long tradition in the sugar-making process, a close link with agriculture and nature and we create a product that gets eaten – a food product. Sustainability means assuming responsibility for people and for our environment. That will also be reflected in our business success,” Dr Lars Gorissen emphasizes.
What does sustainability mean
We have integrated sustainability in our everyday business. Nordzucker employees from various areas of the company demonstrate here what that means for their daily work.
For me, sustainability means assuming responsibility for developing awareness and understanding the role sugar plays in nutrition.
Our business partners aren’t the only ones aware of Nordzucker’s continuous development in sustainability as well as our commitment to becoming an industry leader here. Our customers regularly congratulate us on our successes to date and confirm our impressive dedication in this area, which everyone agrees is increasingly important.
INDUSTRIAL SALES/KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER
For me, sustainability means being open to new things. For instance, we can use digitalization in order to use resources more e ciently. It also includes dealing with customers and suppliers fairly and establishing long-term and trusting relationships.
Sustainability is a journey with our partners along the entire value chain. It is a necessary and natural aspect of our everyday work.