AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG

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quarterly or semiannual financial statement / AGRANA - Revenue up 3% - operating profit of EUR 87.4 million in the first three quarters of 2007|08 Third-quarter operating profit (after exceptionals) at last ...

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9-month report/AGRANA

15.01.2008

In the first three quarters of 2007|08  AGRANA,  the  sugar,  starch and  fruit group, raised its revenue by about 3% to EUR 1,418.7   million  (Q1-Q3  2006|07: EUR 1,380.4 million). While the Starch  and Fruit  segments  generated significant revenue growth of 25% and 10% respectively, Sugar revenue declined by  9%  amid the difficult conditions in the European sugar market. Operating profit  before exceptional items for the first nine months was EUR 87.4 million, down  2.6%  from EUR 89.7 million in the first  three  quarters   2006|07.  In the  third  quarter, operating profit after exceptional items (restructuring), at  EUR  30.6  million, was held steady compared to the prior-year level of EUR 30.5 million.

"The reform-driven decrease in sugar revenue  was  successfully   offset  in  the first nine months by AGRANA's other two  revenue   streams,"  says  AGRANA  Chief Executive Officer Johann Marihart in commenting  on  the  business  performance. "However, the 2007   calendar  year  brought  price  increases  in  raw  material markets on a scale that poses a considerable challenge to all  segments  of   our business. In this environment, the steady third-quarter operating profit  after exceptional items is in our view quite a satisfactory result," adds Marihart.

Third quarter of 2007|08 AGRANA IFRS results (quarter ended November 30, 2007)

Third quarter          Third quarter
                                                      2007|08                    2006|07
Revenue                         EURm              485.3                        457.3
Operating profit          EURm                33.0                         30.5
Bioethanol exceptional EURm                (2.4)                            -
items
Operating profit after EURm                30.6                         30.5
exceptional items
Profit before tax         EURm                17.7                         28.9
Profit for the period  EURm                13.1                         22.7
Earnings per share        EUR                  0.94                          1.53

The third quarter was positive across the board with revenue growth of 6%  to EUR 485.3 million (Q3 2006|07: EUR 457.3 million). Operating profit after exceptional items (restructuring) was EUR 30.6 million, holding  the  prior-year  level  of  EUR 30.5 million. However, owing to weaker Eastern European currencies, the  Group's profit of the third quarter decreased to EUR 13.1 million  (Q3   2006|07:  EUR  22.7 million).

First nine months of 2007|08 Group revenue in the first three quarters of 2007|08 was EUR 1,418.7 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 1,380.4 million). Net financial items were EUR -15.7 million  (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR -11.9 million) as a result  of  increased  financing   costs  for  the extensive capital investment  and  the  higher   interest  rates.  The resulting profit before tax in  the  first   three  quarters  was  E  67.7 million  (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 77.8 million). After taxation at an effective rate of  26.6%  (Q1-Q3 2006|07: 28.0%), profit for the period was EUR  49.7  million (Q1-Q3 2006|07:  EUR 56.0 million).

AGRANA recorded capital expenditure of EUR 157.2 million  during  the first nine months of 2007|08 (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 86.2 million). The main areas of investment were the starch and bioethanol activities.   Capital  expenditure  in the  Sugar segment related primarily to the new raw sugar refinery in Brcko, Serbia.

AGRANA IFRS results (three quarters ended November 30, 2007)

@@start.t2@@First three quarters            First three quarters
                                                  of 2007|08            of 2006|07
Revenue                         EURm            1,418.7                 1,380.4
Operating profit          EURm                 87.4                      89.7
Bioethanol exceptional EURm                 (4.0)                         -
items
Operating profit after EURm                 83.4                      89.7
exceptional items
Profit before tax         EURm                 67.7                      77.8
Profit for the period  EURm                 49.7                      56.0
Earnings per share        EUR                    3.49                        3.76
Investment: purchases                         157.2                        86.2
of property, plant and EURm
equipment and
intangible assets[1]
Staff count                                         8,595                      8,383

Revenue by segment
in EURm                         First three quarters  First three quarters
                                    of 2007|08                  of 2006|07
Sugar segment                        595.3                            652.8
Starch segment                      231.9                            186.1
Fruit segment                        644.5                            583.6
Inter-segment
eliminations                         (53.1)                         (42.0)
AGRANA Group revenue         1,418.7                         1,380.4

Sugar segment The absence of C-sugar exports and the  lower  quota  sugar  sales  due  to  the preventive quota withdrawal were responsible for the revenue decrease of  9%  in@@end@@

the Sugar segment during the first three quarters  to  EUR  595.3   million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 652.8 million). As a result of the lower sales  quantities and  the payments into the EU restructuring  fund, the  segment  reported  an operating profit of EUR 28.9 million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 38.2 million)

Starch segment Revenue in the Starch segment was EUR 231.9 million in the first  three quarters, 25% higher than the prior-year   comparative  level  of  EUR  186.1 million.  This growth was driven by an increase  in  sales  of  saccharification  products  and bioethanol as well as higher market prices. Segment operating profit was EUR  27.9 million compared to EUR 22.4 million in the first three quarters of  2006|07.  The profit expansion resulted from the volume growth and  a  higher  component  of value added.

Net exceptional items in the starch segment - an expense  of  EUR   4.0  million - represented the non-capitalisable costs of the construction  of  the bioethanol plant in Pischelsdorf, Austria.

Fruit segment Revenue of EUR 644.5 million was posted in the Fruit segment in  the  first three quarters (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 583.6 million). Operating profit was EUR 30.6  million (Q1-Q3 2006|07: EUR 29.1 million). Weather-induced crop failures in Europe led  to a pronounced undersupply of raw materials  and  to  volatility  in  the market. However, thanks to expanded global procurement, AGRANA was able  to  cover  its raw material requirements. The price increases   required to  absorb  the  sharp rise in raw material costs are being gradually implemented.

Outlook Raw-material-driven price  increases  for  products  in  the Starch  and  Fruit segment will contrast  with  revenue  reductions   in  Sugar.  The  restructuring measures made necessary by the new  EU sugar  regime  continue  in  the  fourth quarter. Group revenue for the financial year 2007|08 is therefore  expected  to be just under EUR 1,900 million (2006|07: EUR 1,915.8 million based on 14 months   of Fruit results).

For the 2007|08 financial year AGRANA plans to approach  last  year's operating profit before exceptional items. Expenses  for  the   bioethanol  operations  and closure costs for the Hungarian sugar factory in Petöhaza and  the  Czech  fruit processing facility in Kaplice  will,  however,  cause  operating  profit  after exceptional items (restructuring) to ease slightly from the prior year.

This press release and the report on the first three  quarters  of   2007|08  are available in German and English on the Internet at www.agrana.com.

----------------------- 1 Excluding any goodwill

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ots Originaltext: AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch

Further inquiry note:
AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG
Mag. Maria Fally
Investor Relations
Tel.: +43-1-211 37-12905
e-mail:maria.fally@agrana.com

Mag. Ulrike Pichler
Public Relations
Tel.: +43-1-211 37-12084
e-mail:ulrike.pichler@agrana.com

Branche: Food
ISIN:      AT0000603709
WKN:        779535
Index:    WBI, ATX Prime
Börsen:  Börse Berlin / Präsenzhandel
              Börse Frankfurt / Präsenzhandel
              Börse Stuttgart / Präsenzhandel
              Wiener Börse AG / official market



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