K+S Aktiengesellschaft

EANS-News: K+S Aktiengesellschaft
Revenues and earnings increase significantly in 2010 K+S Group on a growth course

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annual result/quarterly report/Company Information

Kassel (euro adhoc) - Kassel, 10 March 2011

Revenues and earnings increase significantly in 2010 K+S Group on a growth course

• Q4/2010: - Fertilizer and salt markets in very good shape - At EUR 1.34 billion, revenues up 26% year on year - Adjusted earnings per share rise to EUR 0.69 (Q4/2009: EUR 0.10)

• Financial year 2010:

-  Significant recovery in the demand for fertilizers and very strong
      salt business; first-time inclusion of Morton Salt for whole year
   -  K+S Group´s revenues rise by 40% to EUR 5.0 billion
   -  Operating earnings (EBIT I) treble to EUR 727 million;
      at EUR 2.33, adjusted earnings per share approx. quadrupled
   -  Dividend proposal: EUR 1.00 per share (2009: EUR 0.20) 

• Outlook 2011: Tangibly higher revenues and significant rise in earnings expected

• Acquisition of Potash One decisive strategic step for tapping into new potash capacities

• Conversion to registered shares planned

The K+S Group is looking back to a very successful financial year 2010, in which all its business segments attained increasing revenues and higher earnings compared with the previous year. "In 2010, we again managed to achieve a significant increase in revenues and earnings. We have emerged from the 2009 crisis strengthened and are looking confidently to the future," said Norbert Steiner, Chairman of the K+S Board of Executive Directors, at the Company´s financial report press conference.

Significant recovery of fertilizer demand Already at the start of the year under review the trade sector showed a high catch-up demand in order to again build up the very low stocks of fertilizers ahead of the spring season. Later in the year, agriculture largely returned to a sustainable consumption pattern. The sharp increase in cereal prices that started in the second half of the year and the resulting improved income situation of farmers further boosted the demand for fertilizers.

Salt business fuelled by high demand for de-icing salt in Europe The extraordinary strong winter that covered Europe caused a huge demand for de- icing salt, especially in the first and fourth quarters of 2010. While the long- term average and thus the sales volume budget for the European K+S salt subsidiary esco is just under 2 million tonnes of de-icing salt, more than twice that much was sold here alone last year. The de-icing salt business in North America in 2010 lagged somewhat behind the long-term average.

Revenues in 2010 significantly higher year on year K+S Group revenues for the whole of 2010 rose by about 40% to just under EUR 5 billion. The increase in revenues is particularly attributable to volume and consolidation effects, which more than made up for the effects of prices. The Potash and Magnesium Products business segment posted the highest revenues of all the K+S Group´s business segments, accounting for just under 37% of the total, and was followed by Salt (about 35%) and Nitrogen Fertilizers (just under 26%).

In Europe, revenues were EUR 2.6 billion (+38%). Thus, this region accounted for approximately 53% of total revenues. Revenues generated on overseas markets rose by 41% to EUR 2.4 billion, about 47% of total revenues. The acquisition of Morton Salt has contributed to the regional distribution of revenues now being very balanced between Europe and overseas on the one hand, and the revenue shares of the individual business segments in total revenues having become more equal on the other hand.

Strong improvement in operating earnings During the year under review, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 137% to EUR 975.2 million. As the EBITDA is not affected by write-downs on valuations made within the framework of purchase price allocations and these have increased significantly after the acquisition of Morton Salt, the EBITDA will now be more important in assessing the operating earnings capacity.

Operating earnings (EBIT I) increased by EUR 488.9 million or 205% to EUR 726.9 million (2009: EUR 238.0 million). While the Potash and Magnesium Products and Nitrogen Fertilizer business segments increased their earnings as a result of the significant increase in fertilizer demand throughout 2010, the good earnings in the Salt business segment are attributable both to a positive consolidation effect (EUR 68.6 million) and to an above-average business of de- icing salt in Europe.

Adjusted earnings multiplied year on year In the year under review, adjusted earnings before taxes totalled EUR 603.4 million, a year-on-year increase of EUR 480.8 million. Adjusted Group earnings reached EUR 445.3 million from EUR 93.6 million the year before (details of the adjustment process can be found in the 2010 financial report, pages 109-113). For the year under review, adjusted earnings per share amounted to EUR 2.33 and were roughly four times higher than the figure for the previous year of EUR 0.56.

Q4/2010: Significant increases in revenues and earnings Fertilizer and salt markets were in very good shape in the fourth quarter of 2010 as well. During this period, the K+S Group´s revenues rose by 26% to EUR 1,340.5 million, mainly due to volume factors. During the fourth quarter, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by EUR 156.5 million to EUR 260.8 million. Operating earnings (EBIT I) in the fourth quarter amounted to EUR 195.2 million and were thus greatly improved against the low level a year ago (Q4/09: EUR 36.5 million). While the Potash and Magnesium Products and Nitrogen Fertilizer business segments increased their earnings as a result of the significant increase in fertilizer demand since the start of the year, the good earnings in the Salt business segment are attributable to a strong de-icing salt business.

In the fourth quarter, adjusted Group earnings before income taxes amounted to EUR 176.1 million (Q4/2009: EUR 17.8 million) and adjusted Group earnings after taxes, at EUR 123.2 million, were also significantly higher than a year ago (Q4/2009: EUR 15.6 million).

Board of Executive Directors and Supervisory Board propose a dividend of EUR 1.00 per share As a result of the strong increase in the adjusted earnings of the K+S Group and in line with the long-term dividend policy, the Board of Executive Directors and the Supervisory Board propose to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of EUR 1.00 per share (previous year: EUR 0.20) be paid for 2010. This corresponds to a payout ratio of 43%.

Positive outlook for 2011 as a whole Norbert Steiner, Chairman of K+S´s Board of Executive Directors, on the subject of expected business performance: "I am very confident that 2011 will also be a good year for the K+S Group. World fertilizer demand should increase further and, following the peak year 2010, we assume that total salt business should stabilise at a high level."

Following the estimates in the outlook of the third quarter of 2010 and against the background of the positive demand and price trends emerging at the end of the year and during the course of the first quarter of 2011, revenues of the K+S Group should rise tangibly in financial year 2011 against the previous year (previous forecast: moderately).

For the financial year 2011, we are forecasting significantly higher operating earnings (EBIT I) in comparison to last year´s figure. This is primarily due to the expected significantly higher earnings in the Potash and Magnesium Products business segment as well as a moderate (previous forecast: tangible) improvement in operating earnings in the Nitrogen Fertilizers business segment. On the other hand, the operating earnings of the Salt business segment will probably fall moderately (previously: significantly).

In 2011, the adjusted Group earnings after taxes should also be significantly higher in line with the development of operating earnings. The projection is based not only on the effects described for revenues and operating earnings, but also on the following circumstances and premises expected from today's perspective:

• continued attractive agricultural prices;
    • higher average proceeds  and  stable  sales  volumes  in  the  Potash  and
      Magnesium Products business segment (expected sales volume in 2011:  about
      7 million tonnes; 2010: 6.99 million tonnes);
    • 22 to 23 million tonnes of crystallised salt to be  sold  in  2011  (2010:
      22.5 million tonnes);
    • a US dollar exchange rate of 1.35 USD/EUR;
    • a  significantly  better  financial  result,  after  this  was  negatively
      impacted by special effects in 2010;
    • significantly rising energy costs in 2011 as a result of an oil  price  of
      around US$ 90 per barrel and the energy contractual clauses to  which  K+S
      is bound;
    • a stable adjusted Group tax ratio of 26% to 27%. 

Successful takeover of Potash One in Canada "With the acquisition of Potash One, we have successfully taken a decisive strategic step," says Norbert Steiner, Chairman of K+S´s Board of Executive Directors. "The new potash deposits in Canada, added to that of our domestic potash mines, will significantly increase our international competitiveness, thus benefiting the K+S Group as a whole," Steiner continues. As the take over bid was accepted by more than 90% of the Potash One shareholders, the remaining outstanding Potash One shares will be acquired by means of an exclusion procedure within the framework of the Canada Business Corporations Act. By mid- May 2011, the acquisition of Potash One should be completed. In order to continue the project systematically initial investments in the infrastructure and initial drilling will already occur in 2011.

Conversion to registered shares planned K+S intends to convert bearer shares to registered shares. An appropriate proposal will be put to the vote by shareholders at the K+S Annual General Meeting on 11 May 2011.

The changeover to registered shares offers advantages to both shareholders and the Company. Registered shares permit even better and more direct communication with shareholders and, in the framework of an Annual General Meeting, make it easier for them to register and vote. They also result in savings for the Company because invitations for shareholders to the Annual General Meeting can be sent directly to the shareholders, including by electronic mail to an increasing extent.

Provided that the Annual General Meeting votes in favour of this motion, conversion should take place in the late summer of 2011. In such a case, the shareholders shall be notified in good time by their depositary banks of the forthcoming conversion to registered shares and of the first-time registration in the share register.

Experience growth The K+S Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of standard and speciality fertilizers. In the salt business, K+S is the world´s leading producer with sites in Europe as well as North and South America. K+S offers a comprehensive range of goods and services for agriculture, industry, and private consumers which provides growth opportunities in virtually every sphere of daily life. The K+S Group employs more than 15,000 people. The K+S share - the only commodities stock on the German DAX index - is listed on all German stock exchanges (ISIN: DE0007162000, symbol: SDF). More information about K+S can be found at www.k-plus-s.com.

Note to editors You can download the Financial Report 2010, the Corporate and Sustainability Report 2010 as well as the Q4/2010 quarterly report by clicking the following link on our website: www.k-plus-s.com/2010q4en. In addition, you will find a video message on business developments from Norbert Steiner, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, and from 10 a.m. today´s presentations of the financial statements press conference in Frankfurt/M. of Norbert Steiner as well as Joachim Felker and Jan Peter Nonnenkamp, both members of the Board of Executive Directors.

An analysts´s conference in English will take place in Frankfurt/M. at 1 p.m. today as well. Norbert Steiner, chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, as well as Joachim Felker and Jan Peter Nonnenkamp, both members of the Board of Executive Directors, will attend. Shareholders, investors, representatives of the press and all other interested parties are invited to follow the conference via a live webcast at (www.k-plus-s.com/en/audio-und-video/cc.html or via telephone (+49-69-6677-75757; PIN 3564773#). The conference is being recorded and will also be available as a podcast.

Your contact persons:

Press: Michael Wudonig, CFA Tel: +49 561 9301-1262 Fax: +49 561 9301-1666 michael.wudonig@k-plus-s.com

Investor Relations: Christian Herrmann, CFA Tel: +49 561 9301-1460 Fax: +49 561 9301-2425 christian.herrmann@k-plus-s.com

Forward-looking statements

This press release contains facts and forecasts that relate to the future development of the K+S Group and its companies. The forecasts are estimates that we have made on the basis of all the information available to us at this moment in time. Should the assumptions underlying these forecasts prove not to be correct or risks arise - examples of which are mentioned in the risk report - actual developments and events may deviate from current expectations. Outside statutory disclosure provisions, the Company does not take any obligations to update the statements contained in this press release.

end of announcement                               euro adhoc
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Contact:

Press:
Michael Wudonig, CFA
Tel: +49 561 9301-1262
Fax: +49 561 9301-1666
michael.wudonig@k-plus-s.com

Investor Relations:
Christian Herrmann, CFA
Tel: +49 561 9301-1460
Fax: +49 561 9301-2425
christian.herrmann@k-plus-s.com

Branche: Chemicals
ISIN: DE0007162000
WKN: 716200
Index: DAX, Midcap Market Index, CDAX, Classic All Share, HDAX,
Prime All Share
Börsen: Frankfurt / regulated dealing/prime standard
Berlin / regulated dealing
Hamburg / regulated dealing
Stuttgart / regulated dealing
Düsseldorf / regulated dealing
Hannover / regulated dealing
München / regulated dealing



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