BayWa AG chief executive Klaus Josef Lutz underlined the value of digitalisation during his speech at the group’s 2017 annual general meeting (AGM) in Munich yesterday (23 May).
Suggesting it was something now “part of the BayWa Group’s DNA," Lutz discussed the establishment of the company’s Innovation & Digitalisation Segment, which brings together all of the activities from the fields of digital farming and e-business.
“Through digitalisation, we find ourselves in the midst of an evolutionary revolution in all industries,” Lutz said.
He added that this development comes with many benefits, noting that digital farming is one example of “how it is possible to reduce the tasks that farmers have to perform while helping them to increase the profitability of their farms.”
Lutz also provided an outlook for the current financial year, claiming the group had made a strong start over the first three months of 2017 in its core operating segments. During the first quarter, revenue increased 9.8 per cent year-on-year to €3.8bn, while earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose to €8m.
Lutz cited moderate agricultural trading markets and high volatility as the factors continuing to pose the greatest challenges to the group.
“We want to significantly increase the consolidated [financial] result once again in 2017,” Lutz said. “If the underlying conditions begin to stabilise, especially in the agricultural markets, EBIT is likely to improve considerably year on year.”
BayWa AG generated €15.4bn in revenue in 2016, while EBIT totalled €144.7m. Shareholders at the AGM approved a dividend of €0.85 per share, the same as in the previous year.