News from Nordzucker | Issue 3 | November 2011
No sugar market regime after 2015?
Campaign starts under good conditions.
This is how sugar plays its part
20 · 20 · 20: Numerous activities in all regions.
6 Good start to the 2011/12 campaign at the Nordzucker factories.
4 Sugar price depends on the world market.
15 Nordzucker presented its products at Polagra-Food for the seventh time.
NEWS UPDATE 4
“Sugar price depends on the world market” – Interview with Mats Liljestam
100 days in office: Supervisory Board Chairman Hans-Christian Koehler
Early start under good conditions – 2011 campaign in the Nordzucker factories
Beet development 2011
Solidly financed – Interview with Dr Michael Noth
Half-year report: Satisfactory performance
10 Treasury: Hedging currency risks 11 European Commission does not plan to extend the sugar market regime
BEET 12 SERiES: 20 ·20 ·20: Boosting yields on a systematic basis 14 New member of the Supervisory Board: Matts Eskel Rosendahl
MARKETS AND CLIENTS 15 Polagra 2011: Nordzucker showcased itself in top form ▼
16 Spotlight on the market 18 What is our sugar used for? – We visit Niederegger
COMMUNITY 20 Recipe: Bremer Klaben
Imprint Published by: Nordzucker AG, Küchenstrasse 9, 38100 Braunschweig. Telephone +49 (0)531 2411 314, Fax +49 (0)531 2411 378, email@example.com | Editorial team (eds.): Helmut Bleckwenn, Susanne Dismer-Puls (sdp), Oliver Ditsch, Rolf Hoffmann, Tanja Schneider-Diehl (tsd), Dr Klaus Schumacher (kds), Marion Stumpe (ms), Nina Tatter (nt), Dr Ulf Wegener | Layout and typesetting by: Sieler Kommunikation und Gestaltung GmbH, Frankfurt | Printed by: Sigert GmbH Druck- und Medienhaus, Braunschweig | Image credits: Fotolia, iStockPhoto, Niederegger, Günter Nimptsch, Nordic Sugar, Nordzucker, Shutterstock
“In a few years, there will only be a handful of independent companies on the market – Nordzucker will be one of them.” Hartwig Fuchs
Dear shareholders and friends of Nordzucker, The autumn is here, the beet harvest is progressing and the beet campaign is running at full steam. All of our 13 factories have made a good start to the campaign, and we naturally hope that this situation will continue. This is also an opportunity to look back at the year as it nears its end. In the half-year report which we have just published, we were able to inform you that the first half of the 2011/12 financial year closed with a very satisfactory performance. In the first six months, Nordzucker generated revenues of Euro 900.3 million – which although slightly lower than last year, came hand-in-hand with a much better operating result (EBIT). In the first half-year, EBIT was at Euro 112.0 million – up from Euro 83.1 million the previous year. This good result was attributable to many factors, including the market conditions, our successful efforts as part of our Profitability plus efficiency programme and the fact that we released ourselves from a number of underperforming assets last year and are now enjoying the fruits of this strategy. Nordzucker AG has moved forward in a stronger position after tackling the difficulties of the past. This is confirmed by the new syndicated loan contract we closed in June. Nevertheless, we still have some inherited burdens which we are dealing with in a committed fashion. But the main goal is the need to strengthen the company further to ensure we are well prepared for the challenges we face tomorrow. One major task is the question of how to sustainably and fairly enable our beet farmers to share in the sugar revenues: the profitability and financial health of the company must be seen as an important factor in this equation, at the same time as ensuring that beet farming continues to remain competitive in future. We need to tackle this issue in a forward-looking way because our objective is to take these aspects into consideration whilst guaranteeing at the same time that the same amount of land is still available for beet cultivation in the next five to ten years. Another major issue is the consolidation that is taking place on the global sugar market as well as the European sugar market. As we saw in October, the concentration process on the European sugar market continues unabated: the French company Cristal Union announced its acquisition of its competitor Groupe Vermandoise. At the same time, major international players are assessing the European market. The number of sugar producers in Europe will decrease continuously in the next few years. There will only be a handful of independent companies on the market in a few years’ time – Nordzucker will be one of them. This is just as important for our shareholders as for our beet farmers, because we can only continue to determine the conditions for our farmers and shareholders ourselves if we have our own voice. We are committed to ensuring that this remains the case. Together with my colleagues on the Executive Board and all of the Nordzucker employees, I wish you a high-yielding autumn, and look forward to welcoming you to one of the winter meetings. Yours faithfully,
» Sugar price depends on the world market
Mats Liljestam Chief Marketing Officer, Nordzucker AG
“It is important that the European Commission reaches an early decision on measures that need to be implemented, such as releasing non-quota sugar and additional imports.”
After Eastern Europe, the retail sector in Germany has now also raised the price for a kilo package of sugar. At the beginning of October, ALDI announced that it was raising the price for a kilo package of sugar from 65 cents to 85 cents. Another discounter, Lidl, and the food retailing conglomerate REWE, announced their own price rises just one day later. Good reasons for Akzente to find out more from Mats Liljestam – Nordzucker Chief Marketing Officer.
Akzente: Mr Liljestam, large retail chains in Germany have significantly raised the price for a kilogramme of sugar. What is behind these price rises? Mats Liljestam: One has to be aware of many aspects to be able to assess these price rises properly. Firstly, there was a big price war amongst the food chains in autumn 2009. Lidl dramatically dropped the
price of flour and sugar at that time – the price for sugar for instance went down from 85 cents to 72 cents. ALDI joined in and slashed the price of a kilogramme of flour by 36 per cent, and cut the price for sugar by 19 per cent. The food retail chains were therefore putting themselves under a great deal of pressure. That is one of the factors. The other is that the food retailers in Germany – unlike those in Poland for instance – close long-term supply contracts with the suppliers – in other words, with us. You will probably remember reading in the newspaper in summer that the sugar prices in supermarkets in Poland and other Eastern European countries (comment from the editor: see Akzente 02/11) were on the up. That was attributable to the fact that the retail chains in Eastern Europe had only closed short-term supply agreements; and because the world market price for sugar was very high, the food retail groups also had to pay a very high price for their sugar. We were not affected by these factors in summer because we closed supply agreements lasting 12 months. These now need to be renewed and because the world market price is still high, the food retail chains also have to buy sugar at a higher price than they did in 2009 for instance. Akzente: But the sugar which we buy here is made from sugar beet and also comes from here. Why does the global market price have an impact? Mats Liljestam: It is true that we produce sugar here from sugar beet. But we also import sugar from the world market. The reforms to the sugar market regime made in
Retailers implemented a delayed rise in prices.
2006 stipulated that around 85 per cent of the sugar consumed in Europe can be produced here. The difference between this and overall consumption is to be covered by imports which the European Commission has pledged to the ACP and LDC countries. These quotas are aimed at helping the poorest countries in the world. However, because of the high world market prices, they have not supplied Europe with sugar. These countries have exported their sugar to other countries and not to the EU. The higher world market price is primarily attributable to poor harvests – mainly in Brazil. When we import sugar into Europe, we have to accept the conditions prevailing on the world market. The close link to the world market was always one of the main demands of the critics of
the sugar market regime. Without the sugar quota though, the shortage this year would have been even more dramatic. In the long term, the sugar quota regulations are very important for safeguarding the supply security of the EU sugar market, which has now become very volatile. Akzente: A good sugar beet harvest is expected this year. But ALDI and other discounters have still raised their prices? Mats Liljestam: From a global point of view, sugar is still in relatively short supply – primarily because of poor harvests in Brazil and India last year, and the belowaverage harvest in the EU in 2010/11. This means that sugar is also in relatively short supply for our own needs, although this may seem paradoxical. This is why we moved early at the beginning of the year
to lobby the European Commission to implement additional measures. Unfortunately, the Commission reacted very tentatively so that the provision of non-quota sugar for the food sector and extra import quotas only had an impact on the market relatively late in the year, and therefore also helped push prices even higher. We think it is therefore all the more important for the European Commission to reach a decision as early as possible on any new measures which may be required, such as releasing non-quota sugar, and additional import options. One thing we know for sure is that the supply situation on the global sugar market remains relatively strained, and that the sugar price continues to be determined by the world market. And as I said earlier, the price level on the world market depends on many factors which we cannot influence in Europe. n
Breaks were yesterday 100 days in office: Hans-Christian Koehler “In the past, there was still time after the annual general meetings for the harvest and a holiday.” Hans-Christian Koehler (56) has been the Nordzucker AG Super visory Board Chairman since the beginning of July 2011. “Breaks are now a thing of the past; the Group continues to work Hans-Christian Koehler without a pause,” is how he sums up his Chairman of the Supervisory first 100 days in office. Board, Nordzucker AG The farmer from Barum to the north of Uelzen is very familiar with the work of the Supervisory Board. He has been on the Supervisory Board since Nordzucker AG was established. His turbulent entry into the business with beet sweetness happened earlier – in 1997 as the full-time director of Zucker Aktiengesellschaft UelzenBraunschweig. Sugar beet and sugar have kept him busy ever since – on top of the 285 hectare market gardening enterprise which he runs as a partner in a GbR.
he says and adds: “Everyone knows exactly where I stand.” Responsibility, the complex business and the new role motivate him. “Nordzucker is a strong company with potential, and the way things will develop in future remains exciting.” He sees the consolidation as almost completed. The main focus is now the speedy integration of Nordic Sugar within the Group. The consolidation process worldwide in the sugar sector is still proceeding apace. “There is a great deal of movement,” he says. Nordzucker has all the prerequisites required to grow further, and also to improve the necessary access to raw cane sugar without losing sight of the company’s own roots. After more than 200 winter meetings in all parts of North Germany, the green networker from the Uelzener Becken has long been no pure “Uelzener” anymore. “We are responsible for many regions, and our beet-growing shareholders everywhere have different ideas: those in Magdeburg differ from those in Hildesheim, those in Schleswig-Holstein differ from those from the Lüneburger Heide and from those in Mecklen burg Western Pomerania.”
Facts are not the only factors “A great deal has happened in 14 years,” he recalls: mergers, different philosophies, personalities and management styles, which he has experienced at close hand through his work in various sugar industry committees. Detailed knowledge is essential, and something he likes to acquire meticulously and whenever new aspects arrive. Another thing he has learnt the hard way: “it is not always the facts themselves which guide decisions in the end.”
New identification of the farmers with Nordzucker He considers the most urgent aspects for Nordzucker’s success to be: the complete integration of Nordic Sugar; the expansion of its position in Europe; access to attractive markets for natural resources; and management continuity. He longs for “an end to the tarnishing of a good company’s name.” In its place, he wants a new stronger identification of the beet farmers and shareholders with their Nordzucker. And he will do everything in his power to make this possible. n sdp
Nordic Sugar integration in the spotlight Committee and sector colleagues confirm the busy farmer’s openness, humour and huge reserves of stamina. “I have never shirked hard work,”
Early start under good conditions 2011 campaign in the Nordzucker factories
Axel Aum端ller Chief Operating Officer, Nordzucker AG
Opalenica sugar factory, Poland: fresh pulped beet on the way to the extraction tower.
I am delighted that all of the Nordzucker factories have made very good starts to the campaign. This has been significantly assisted by the intense and good co-ordination of the repair work and the investments. The very long campaign in some areas has been taken into consideration in various measures, such as the very early start to the campaign, and putting a processing priority this year on the optimisation of workflows for good throughput rates.
As for the continuation of the campaign, we are all praying for dry weather, so that the sugar beet can be stored in the clamps with as little adhering soil as possible. Even when there is frost, the factories can then profit from this because of the better quality of the beet after washing, and naturally also for the processing itself. If we have no very early frost, and if it is not particularly harsh, then nothing can stand in the way of a good campaign overall. n
Control panel at the Nakskov sugar factory, Denmark.
Laboratory at the Nakskov sugar factory, Denmark.
News Update Central Europe
All factories have a four-shift operations schedule Dr Michael Gauß Managing Director Central Europe Region, and also responsible for the German sugar factories
“The 2011/12 campaign began very early in the region. The first factory to start pro cessing was Schladen where production began on 7 September. This was followed on schedule by Clauen, Nordstemmen and Uelzen on 8 September. Wanzleben started as planned on 12 September after completing the planned repairs and the necessary maintenance shut-down of fuel21. All of the factories quickly ramped up their pro-
duction to the planned processing capacities, supported by good harvesting conditions and sugar yields at the beginning of the campaign lying slightly above the five-year average. All of the investment measures were completed on time and within budget thanks to the professional co-operation of all those involved. The extraction tower relocated from Hungary to Clauen was incorporated in the processing cycle without any problems. Other important investments included setting up steam dryer No. 2 in Uelzen, as well as several projects to optimise the washing-water and wastewater treatment. In Wanzleben, this involved installing new high-capacity sieves
to reduce the organic contamination of the water and to relieve the wastewater treatment system. Automatic extinguishing systems were installed in all of the Nordzucker Group’s drum dryers to improve the safety of the high temperature pulp drying operations. And all of the maintenance work naturally also took into consideration that we will have to tackle an unusually long campaign this year of at least 130 days. All of the factories are now being run on a four-shift schedule, and everyone involved is committed to playing their part to ensure success – the farmers, harvesting and loading teams, beet transporters, clamp care operatives, beet managers, and all of the employees in the factories.” n
Energy efficiency measures though a few small problems in the Danish factories early on, mainly due to the heavy rain shortly before and at the beginning of the campaign. Nevertheless, a high processing capacity was quickly achieved at all of the factories. We carried out a number of investment measures prior to the campaign: for instance, new energy saving equipment
Jesper Thomassen Production Manager Northern Europe Region, and also responsible for factories in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Lithuania
“Nordic Sugar’s campaign start ran according to plan. There were unfortunately
and measures. Various technical adjustments were made during the first days of the campaign as part of the energy savings plan. One of our investments in Denmark has already brought about a considerable reduction in water consumption. Heavy rainfall though has had an impact on beet quality in some of the beet growing areas in Denmark.” n
18 per cent sugar at the start of the harvest Joachim Rüger Production Manager Eastern Europe Region, and also responsible for the factories in Poland and Slovakia
“The beet campaign in the Eastern Europe Region began under very good conditions. The weather was perfect for harvesting and beet logistics. Despite the early start to the campaign, the sugar beet is of very
good quality. The unexpectedly high sugar content of 18 per cent in Slovakia is very satisfying. The campaign in Eastern Europe will also be very long: up to the end of the year in Poland and into the start of 2012 in Slovakia. The refining of raw cane sugar was completed in Chełmża shortly before the start of the beet campaign. Although the time available for carrying out maintenance measures in Chełmża was very short, this factory also made an excellent campaign
start. The same applies to Opalenica. The high sugar content though could be a challenge in Trenčianská Tepla. The investments will boost the efficiency of all three factories – such as the energy consumption. The main focus of investment this year was in sugar packaging and logistics. The whole packaging plant at the former service centre in Hatvan was relocated to the factories in Chełmża, Opalenica and Trenčianská Tepla.” n
Slightly later sowing than normal
Normal spring development
Average crop densities
Normal sowing time
Good growing conditions in summer
Fast warming in spring
Good growing conditions in summer
Above-average sugar yield with lower sugar content
Above-average harvest expected with lower sugar concentrations
Sowing 1 week earlier than the long-term average
Rapid field emergence, high crop density
High temperatures in spring, good growing conditions
Above-average rainfall and cloudy weather in summer
Above-average sugar yield with lower sugar content
Slightly later sowing than the long-term average
Fast field emergence and average crop densities
Good growing conditions in summer
Above-average harvest expected with lower sugar concentrations
Sowing almost 14 days earlier than normal
Sowing 1 week earlier than average
Fast field emergence, but varying crop densities because of late frost Good beet growth through cloudy and rainy summer weather
Rapid field emergence, high crop density
Favourable conditions for young plant growth and early ground coverage
Above-average sugar yield with average sugar concentrations
Cloudy and rainy summer weather
Sugar yield much higher than average
Sowing 1 week earlier than average
Rapid field emergence, high crop density
Good growing conditions thanks to rain and high temperatures in summer
Above-average sugar yield with high sugar concentrations
Another year full of surprises Beet development 2011
dr Niels pörksen Chief Agricultural Officer, Nordzucker AG
One could be excused for thinking that vegetation in 2011 was totally tuned to the needs of sugar beet. Sowing in most countries took place much earlier than average this year. And the spring weather with lots of sun boosted the growth of the young beet plants and led to early crop coverage. The rainy summer months enormously boosted the bulk growth of the sugar beet, but delayed the cereal harvests, and prevented punctual rape sowing at many
locations. Leaf diseases tended to be below average and were controlled with targeted measures. The first weeks of the campaign verified the expectation for above-average yields at all locations. Only the sugar content varies regionally. There will certainly still be a few surprises during the campaign. But we are currently expecting the 2011 beet year to be unusually successful. n
Nordzucker: Solidly financed The Syndicated loan closed in June cuts the interest load and creates more manoeuvrability Nordzucker closed a new syndicated loan contract in June. The previously existing contract which was agreed as part of the Nordic Sugar acquisition measures could thus be annulled. What are the benefits of the new agreement for Nordzucker AG? We asked CFO Dr Michael Noth:
Akzente: Dr Noth, a Euro 1.36 billion loan was taken out at the beginning of 2009 for the acquisition of Nordic Sugar. The syndicated loan contract closed in summer 2011 replaces the previous financing measure. Why was the contract renegotiated? Dr Michael Noth: We considerably reduced our indebtedness on the strength of good earnings and the sale of trade investments which no longer fitted in our portfolio. This meant that we were able to make an unscheduled repayment of almost Euro 123 million on our old loan in February. At the same time, the credit markets were very favourable in spring. We therefore used our considerably improved creditworthiness and the good market situa-
tion to refinance. The poor development of the credit markets since summer has shown the benefits of arranging the new financing early on. Because less financing is required, the new loan agreement is much smaller and we now save interest in two ways – because of the smaller loan and the lower interest rates. Our colleagues from the Treasury department have done a really excellent job. Thanks to their clever tender, they succeeded in securing much better conditions than in the old contract. We not only have to pay less interest with the new contract, we also have to satisfy fewer conditions. This gives us important room for manoeuvre in the future. Akzente: Why is it important for Nordzucker to have “room to manoeuvre”? Dr Noth: The sugar industry in Europe and around the world is currently experiencing a consolidation phase. Another merger was just announced at the beginning of October: the French company
dr Michael Noth Chief Financial Officer, Nordzucker AG
Cristal Union acquired its competitor Group Vermandoise. Those of us on the Nordzucker Executive Board expect this trend to continue in the EU over the next few years. We have to have cash available to invest in Europe and to actively consolidate the market. If we want to import sugar from ACP and LDC countries in the future, we need cash to do it – it is therefore important to have stable finances and a loan agreement which gives us sufficient room to manoeuvre. This is the only way we will succeed in maintaining our market position and expand it in the future. But don’t misunderstand me here: we don’t want to launch ourselves into any new adventures – our strategy is to invest prudently in our core business. Our economic strength makes us an attractive company for our shareholders and beet suppliers. n
Satisfactory performance in the first half-year Nordzucker profits from good market conditions Nordzucker was able to profit from the good market conditions, and closed the first half of 2011/12 with a very satisfactory performance. Continuing in-house efficiency measures, as well as the optimisation of our trade investment structure completed in 2010, are also now bearing fruit. Nordzucker generated revenues of Euro 900.3 million in the first half of the 2011/12 financial year – only slightly down on the previous year’s figure. Smaller volumes of sugar were available for marketing because of the belowaverage 2010/11 campaign. However, the higher market prices almost completely compensated for this decline in volume. The operating result (EBIT) in the first half was Euro 112.0 million (previous year: Euro 83.1 million). When adjusted for interest and taxes, the six-month
profit was Euro 72.6 million (previous year: Euro 33.8 million). The positive development in earnings also gave rise to a considerable increase in the equity ratio. Compared with the same balance sheet date the previous year, equity rose by Euro 115.8 million to Euro 854.6 million. The equity ratio increased to 50.6 per cent. Net debt (financial liabilities minus cash and cash equivalents) fell over the same period from Euro 250.1 million to Euro 148.0 million. In the light of the continuing good market situation, we are assuming that business will continue to develop positively for the whole of the 2011/12 financial year. The increases in prices achieved in the markets for the new sugar financial year suggest that we will exceed the previous
Nordzucker AG Interim ReportFinancial Year 2011/2012 First Quarter March 1 – May 31, 2011
year’s revenues. But we do expect the situation to calm down in the medium term in the European as well as in the global sugar markets. Lower interest payments and savings arising from the “Profitability plus” efficiency programme will also have a positive impact on earnings. We currently expect that the previous year’s earnings will be significantly exceeded, and that we will generate excellent profits in 2010/11. n
The whole half-year report is available in our download centre at www.nordzucker.de Akzente 03/11
News Update Purchase price negotiation Ship cargo sugar + insurance + customs
Sugar price = world market = $
Hedging currency risks
Contract: Purchase price in $
$/€ ? Payment: Purchase price in $, Bank account debited in €
Currency risks occur whenever goods are purchased in a currency which is not the local currency of the purchasing company.
Treasury – behind the scenes responsibility A package of cane sugar: nothing very unusual on a supermarket shelf. The package is quickly put into the supermarket trolley and paid for. But how does the sugar actually get here? And how and when does one pay for a whole ship full of raw cane sugar?
When Nordzucker orders cane sugar from Brazil for instance, the team in the Treasury department at Nordzucker gets to work straight away – long before the cargo has been unloaded. It all starts with a telephone call – many telephone calls. These conversations are held with commodity dealers with the aim of ordering the cane sugar, negotiating the conditions and closing the contract. This is when the Treasury department hedging experts get in on the game.
The Treasury staff analyse and hedge risks.
What does Treasury actually mean? Nordzucker’s Treasury department is responsible for controlling liquidity (assets, borrowing, payment transactions). The aim is to keep an eye on the economic efficiency aspects of transactions by prudently supplementing the sales and purchasing activities by hedging the financial risks. Hedging is carried out to cover interestchange risks, and exchange rate and commodities risks. Put simply, the Treasury team is a service provider within the company which assesses, qualifies and quantifies the need for banking instruments to reduce the risks and safeguard the liquidity of the Group’s transactions, and ultimately also to purchase these instruments from partner banks. Ralf Brunkow
Buying in dollars, selling in euros “Let’s say we buy a ship load of raw cane sugar in Brazil. The bulk sugar is then transported by ship to one of our refineries. This sugar is paid for in US dollars. This gives rise to a currency risk which we have to hedge. This is our job,” says Ralf Brunkow. Currency risks occur whenever goods are paid for in currencies which are not the local currency. The foreign currency amount has to be paid to the seller at some point in time, which means that the foreign currency required also has to be bought. Fluctuations in the currency markets lead to additional risks associated with the purchase of this sugar. “One of our jobs in the Treasury department is to estimate and hedge the nature and scope of these kinds of risks. We do this by analysing the currencies involved in the sugar transaction, and estimating the time involved between the obligation to pay the commodity dealer as stipulated in the purchasing contract, and the later sale to our own customers,” explains Brunkow. This enables the team to estimate which of the hedging instruments made available to Nordzucker by the banking market is the best one in each case. Which exchange rate applies? The question not only involves the currency in which the transaction is paid, but also when the cargo has to be paid for. “If we stick with our Brazilian example; it takes several weeks for the journey to our refineries after the purchase date. But the cargo is already ours shortly after closing the contract. To safeguard our interests, we have to establish as early on as possible the exchange rate at which we have to pay for the cargo,” says Christoph Bienwald from the Treasury team front office responsible for aspects including the trade in currencies and derivatives. “The exchange rate can vary enormously: between the time the ship leaves the home port and the day and the hour it arrives at the destination port. This can give rise to very unfavourable effects. Our job is to keep the risk for Nordzucker as low as possible,” adds Frank Neumann, his front office colleague. The Treasury specialists therefore try to negotiate a deal with a house bank as quickly as possible after closing the contract. The deal defines the previously fixed exchange rate and the date at which Nordzucker pays for the currency it requires. This financial instrument is called a forward exchange contract. If one just sat around twiddling one’s thumbs, and waited until the payment was due, it is possible that a much higher purchase price would have to be paid on the payment date in the local currency if the exchange rate fell – a risk which is particularly strong nowadays because of the instability of the currency markets in the light of the financial problems in Greece. This could mean that Nordzucker could actually make a loss on the bottom line. This financing instrument is therefore a pure protective measure. It prevents speculation on the unforeseeable price >>
European Commission: No sugar market regime after 2015? Nordzucker advocates continuation until 2020 As part of its proposals for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the European Commission has now officially published its ideas about the further reform of the sugar market regime. According to these proposals, the sugar market regime will end as defined in the current regulations on 30 September 2015 at the end of the 2014/15 financial year. This means that the main elements concerning the quota regulations and the minimum beet price will be dropped from 1 October 2015. A private storage system is proposed to stabilise the market. The relationships with the beet farmers are to be regulated on the basis of mandatory sector agreements. In addition, the proposal also includes dropping the production levy, and removing all export restrictions. The European Parliament recently advocated continuing the sugar market regime until 2020. In agreement with the Umbrella Organisation of the North German Sugar Beet Growers, the Confederation of European Beet Growers (CIBE) and the Umbrella Organisation of the German Sugar Industry, Nordzucker also a dvocates a continuation of the sugar market regime until 2020. Nordzucker is in favour of the Commission’s proposal to drop the production levy and remove export restrictions.
Will the minimum price and quota regulations be abandoned after 2015? The future of the sugar market regime will be negotiated as part of the CAP reform.
Continuation of the existing system is necessary to safeguard supplies of sugar from beet to cover a major part of the demand on the European market, and to uphold the planning security of our beet growers. Additional flexible instruments, such as the authorisation of non-quota sugar for the EU food market, and facilitating imports if the preference imports do not materialise must be implemented early
on in future by the Commission in response to shortages in supplies. The Commission’s proposals on the sugar market regime will be discussed as part of the reform of the whole CAP. The negotiations will continue into 2013. We will raise our interests in this debate. Independ ent of these discussions, it is v ital to ensure that we are well prepared for all possible outcomes of this reform process. n kds
The Nordzucker Treasury department works closely with the procurement and sales departments to identify as early as possible any currency and price fluctuation risks which may affect Nordzucker, and to take the appropriate hedging measures. A great deal is involved until a
package of cane sugar arrives on a supermarket shelf. n
Continuation from page 10 “Hedging currency risks”
gains and creates a reliable basis for estimating our corporate revenues. The Nordzucker Group has a range of house currencies such as the euro, the Polish zloty and the Swedish crown. In addition, there are also the currencies of our clients and suppliers, such as the US dollar.
Nina Tatter Corporate Communications
Series: 20 · 20 · 20
20 ·20 ·20 Boosting yields on a systematic basis
Competence team meeting in Wanzleben.
Numerous activities in all Nordzucker cultivation regions The 20 ·20 · 20 Nordzucker project is a challenge which we are tackling in many small steps in all Group regions by bundling short-term and medium-term activities. In 2011, competence teams started their work in the cultivation regions. These working groups will work in more detail on specific issues together with the farmers. This joint effort between beet farmers, Nordzucker beet office staff, and research and technology partners aims to boost sugar yields so that at least 20 per cent of Nordzucker farmers can achieve 20 tonnes of sugar per hectare by 2020.
Refining the production technology Implementing this objective partially involves direct improvements in production technology. This involves scrutinising the whole process chain from tillage to sowing and beet harvesting. This frequently concerns details which are already well known but are not yet implemented adequately on a regional basis. In addition, we want to elaborate unidentified effects and relationships: the type of potential that can only be revealed by focused research activity 12
and effectively implementing the necessary measures. Research today is so specialised that Nordzucker sees the key to its success here in tailored partnerships. This means that the activities have to be intelligently subdivided into the various disciplines so that work can be carried out by organisations with the relevant technical expertise. Harvesting what has grown Nordzucker already invests a great deal of time and effort into every aspect which can reduce the losses incurred when lifting and processing the mature sugar beet. The use of harvesters, the loading and cleaning processes, as well as clamp storage, are all vital process steps where we need to do more to mobilise the still considerable reserves. Letter, portal, SMS: who can we reach via which channel? Elaborating measures which boost yields is one thing. Just as important, if not more so, is getting these measures across to those who need to implement them, and
realising them in practice. A vital aspect here is the optimal organisation of this knowledge transfer. This refers both to Nordzucker’s in-house consulting organisation and implementation, and to the communication channels and media which are used. This raises the question: which is the best communication channel? Direct discussions with consultants, SMS, e-mail, portal, fax or even the good old letter? The most important thing is that Nordzucker satisfies the different communication habits of its many farmers. Pages 13 and 14 present a number of concrete measures to boost yields in the regions.
Dr Ulf Wegener Senior Manager Agricultural Sourcing Strategies
20 · 20 · 20 in Central Europe
Highlighting the potential for boosting yields In addition to the work of the Nordzucker competence teams, numerous tests have been and are being carried out in North Germany to highlight the potential for boosting yields in future. Work is currently focused on:
Growing-space optimisation (equally spaced seeds): Tests have been carried out to see whether a square pattern of beet plants – in other words, a smaller distance between rows but a greater distance between each sugar beet plant in the rows – can boost yields compared to the current cultivation practice. Early sowing: “A rule of thumb is: the earlier the sowing, the better the harvest.” This is only true, however, if the soil is in optimum shape, and the sugar beet varieties used are shoot beet resistant. Under-root fertilising: The focus here was previously on nitrogen fertiliser. The latest
New project in North Germany: autumn strip-till sowing. This involves creating strips in October for beet sowing the following spring. Sowing is carried out directly in these strips. This can only be done with the use of georeference data because the strips created in autumn have to be relocated again down to an accuracy of two centimetres by the sowing machinery in the following spring.
tests are looking at the placement of multinutrient fertilisers. Leaf analysis: Do neighbouring plants with different growth behaviours but with the same nutrient contents in the soil have different nutrient contents in their leaves? Can this information be used to derive special fertiliser recommendations? Autumn strip-till sowing: The autumn strip-till sowing project is a completely new research area which Nordzucker is looking at together with two partners. After the successful implementation of strip-till sowing on light soils – this means
preparing the soil in strips and simultaneously sowing the seeds in the spring – we are now looking at whether this procedure can also be successful in heavy soils. In addition to our ongoing research projects, Nordzucker harvesting training courses and 2011 harvesting loss monitoring programme also both aim to fully exploit the existing yield potential. n
Dr Andreas Windt Manager Agricultural Consulting
20 · 20 · 20 in Northern Europe
Learning from the best Nordic Sugar is actively integrating its beet farmers into the 20 · 20 · 20 project. “How can we help our farmers get even better?” This was the question discussed at the first meeting of our top farmers. The answer is obvious: we jointly have to concentrate primarily on the complex and difficult questions with high improvement potential.
Doing more to safeguard the early and reliable establishment of the crop: The most important aspect is crop establishment. We are therefore currently working together with research organisations to elaborate a development programme to increasingly safeguard early and reliable plant development – hopefully with the help of new technologies and cultivation methods.
Focusing more intensely on losses: We are also focusing on harvesting losses. We have initiated training courses for drivers of harvesting machinery. The aim is to improve the awareness of drivers and farmers for potential losses, and to find out ways of reducing such losses. Nordic Sugar has developed a new app to quickly evaluate harvesting quality. The small smartphone application enables farmers to reliably and quickly estimate the losses when they are out in the field. n
Christer Sperlingsson Senior Manager Beet Supply Nordic Sugar
In the past it has been difficult to objectively assess harvesting quality. Now, with Nordic Sugar’s new mobile app, harvester drivers and beet farmers can now determine the losses from broken roots with a few taps on the touch screen.
>> Akzente 03/11
Continuation from page 13 “Boosting yields on a systematic basis”
20 · 20 · 20 in Eastern Europe
Preference for mulch sowing The 20 · 20 · 20 project was discussed in 2011 with the farmers’ associations in Poland and Slovakia. The feedback was very good and the topic was discussed at numerous farming meetings. We have also informed the sugar beet research organisations about Nordzucker’s objectives.
We integrate the 20 · 20 · 20 targets in our daily consulting and information work. In addition, we have also initiated a regular exchange of expertise with our 20 best farmers. Different groups of farmers are working on 20·20·20 to ensure that our activities can be customised to the needs of each and every farming enterprise. Preference for mulch sowing: One of our major objectives in Poland is to reduce the amount of ploughing in spring and prepare the fields as much as possible in autumn. Seed bed tillage in Slovakia is also to be concentrated in the autumn period. The focus here, however, is on tillage without ploughing. We want to increase the proportion of mulch sowing in both countries to improve the soil structure and water retention capacities.
Tests are being carried out in North Germany to see whether the square spacing of beet plants produces a higher yield.
Sowing early and quickly: The biggest challenge in both countries is early sowing. Sugar beet is in competition with other crops which have to be sown in spring. They have to be drilled at the right time, not just when all of the other work has been finished. In addition, we want to concentrate the sowing period further to achieve compact sowing periods under optimal conditions. Most important success factor: plant density: Independent of the beet growth phase, weeds should be sprayed at a very early stage. In the case of fungicides, a local monitoring programme tracks regional infections. We give special recommendations for the proper application of fungicides with the aim of preventing their excessive use. But the most important factor for the success of the harvest in Poland is plant density. Our objective is 100,000 plants per hectare.
Harvesting work: To reduce harvesting losses further, all of the people involved need to know exactly what they have to do. Nordzucker therefore invites all participants (harvester drivers, beet transporters, beet farmers) to training courses. Another objective for Poland is the more frequent use of six-row harvesters. As a general rule, beet clamps have to be protected from the weather from 20 November onwards. Beet storage in Slovakia is to be increasingly done on concrete surfaces to ensure better loading and cleaning. n
Dr Gerd Jung Senior Vice President Beet Procurement Eastern Europe
New member of the Supervisory Board: Matts Eskel Rosendahl At this year’s Nordzucker AG annual general meeting on 7 July, the Swede Matts Eskel Rosendahl was voted onto the Nordzucker AG Supervisory Board. Rosendahl gained 99.93 per cent of the votes, and succeeds Gert Lindemann who stepped down from his office with effect from 24 February 2011 after being appointed Minister of Agriculture in Lower Saxony. Rosendahl (58) grew up on a farm near Örtofta, and studied agriculture with a major in economics at the Swedish University for Agriculture SLU (Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet) in Uppsala. After completing his degree, he specialised in finance and worked in various positions in the food sector: between 1984 and 1989, he was initially the deputy finance manager and later the finance director of the Swedish preserved-vegetable producer Felix AB. He then moved to the food group Procordia Food as the finance director. He then occupied various positions at the Swedish co-operative Swedish Meats ek. Förening, where he worked as finance director and chief financial officer between 2001 and 2009. Matts Eskel Rosendahl has been a consultant since 2010. The Nordzucker AG Supervisory Board benefits from his many years of experience in finance departments, and his in-depth knowledge of the Scandinavian food market. n
Nordzucker showcased in top form Nordzucker presented its products at Polagra-Food for the seventh time. The trade fair took place in the Polish city of Poznan from 12 to 15 September 2011. It is Eastern Europe’s most important food exhibition and boasts around 1,000 exhibitors and over 50,000 visitors.
The traditional industrial fair attracted more attention than usual this year because of the Polish presidency of the EU Council – the show was therefore given a completely new look. And alongside the usual company representatives, purchasing managers and retail chains from across Europe, the visitors this year also included numerous representatives from politics, embassies and national chambers of commerce. Good feedback on the first Nordzucker Congress Nordzucker Polska made 200 per cent use of this special trade fair year: the trade visitors not only enjoyed an innovative presentation of Nordzucker products on the enlarged stand, 70 selected visitors were also invited to attend the first Nordzucker Congress – and Nordzucker Polska had a very good response from the invitations it sent out to customers and business partners, and representatives of the authorities, government and the media.
The highlight of this year’s Polagra fair was the Nordzucker Congress, which was implemented with the active involvement of Nordzucker Director Mats Liljestam and Dr Volker Diehl, Senior Vice President Sales Nordzucker Eastern Europe. The participants at the congress included representatives of industry, trade, retail, authorities, banks and trade media. The speech by the President of the Poznan International Fair, Andrzej Byrt, attracted a great deal of attention, as did the brief appearance of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Andrzej Butra, who is responsible for the sugar market. Detailed business information was presented during the congress. Mats Lilje stam analysed our division from a global point of view. Volker Diehl provided the participants with an insight into the Euro pean market and Eastern European Region. Maiusz Tomczak, Senior Sales Manager Nordzucker Polska, presented the activities of Nordzucker Polska in detail, not forgetting to also explain the special features of the Polish market. And last but not least, Lars Bo Jorgensen, General Manager NP Sweet, presented the new NP Sweet division. The participants used the lively forum discussion at the end to ask the panel a large number of questions.
The exhibition team: the Polish sales team, guests from Slovakia and the regional managers who all played their part in the success of the congress. From left to right (upper row): Mariusz Tomczak, Jacek Drejling, Ivan Kardoš, Volker Diehl, Mats Liljestam, Marek Kmita, Lars Bo Jorgensen, Tomasz Wroblewski, Piotr Wawro, Lubomir Fischer; below: Dirk Clauss, Danuta Dabrowska, Norbert Antalik, Eva Krook.
This year’s enlarged Nordzucker stand, which was accessible from all sides this time, greeted Polagra visitors with general information on the ground floor, and provided space on the upper floor for discussions with Nordzucker clients. Each of the four sides of the stand was dedicated to one product group.
Eva Krook presented Nordzucker Polska’s Sweet Stevia product selection to interested visitors, and explained the research and development work being conducted on completely new options for sweetening.
Acanthus Aureus for outstanding marketing by Nordzucker Polska. The Group’s Eastern Europe Region presented itself in Poznan as an altogether strong part of Nordzucker. Nordzucker provides its customers in Eastern Europe with high quality products and services, and is open for the establishment of strong partnerships on the basis of the exchange of expertise and information. The highlight of Polagra was the bestowal of the Acanthus Aureus Awards 2011: Nordzucker Polska received a prize for the second time for the exemplary implementation of its marketing strategy – a major success for the whole Nordzucker team. n
Lubomir Fischer Marketing Manager Eastern Europe
MARKETS AND CLIENTS
SPOTLIGHT ON THE MARKET
Sugar demand remains high Prices well above the EU reference price The prices for sugar on the world markets have been unusually high since 2010. And the prices within the EU are currently also well above the reference price. This price rise has been significantly influenced by the decline in stocks and the supply shortages in the markets. The high world market price in turn led to a reduction in sugar imports from ACP/LDC countries to the EU because the low EU price meant that sugar exporters could sell their goods more profitably in other countries. This situation – not foreseen during the reform of the sugar market regime in 2006 – has caused the European Commission to respond by implementing three measures to ensure that the EU market is adequately supplied with sugar: converting 526,000 tonnes of nonquota sugar into quota sugar for human consumption, opening a tariff quota of 500,000 tonnes without charging import duties and tendering the tariff rate for
imports. This tender gained offers of 356,566 tonnes of sugar by the end of September. All of these measures made around 1.4 million tonnes of additional sugar available for the EU market. Production: Positive balance expected The outlook for the sugar market in the 2011/2012 financial year seems, however, to be developing much more positively. We are again expecting a positive world sugar balance after two years of shortages on the world markets. According to the latest estimate from F.O. Licht, world sugar production in the 2011/2012 financial year is forecast to be around 5 million tonnes in excess of expected consumption, with total production of 176 million tonnes. This is due to the excellent harvests in the EU, India and Russia. The first estimates suggest that the EU will produce 2.4 million tonnes more than in the previous year – to give a total volume of 17.4 million tonnes.
The current estimates are that the raw sugar production of Europe’s top producing countries – France and Germany – will be 4.6 and 4.2 million tonnes respectively. If the quota sugar production remains unchanged at 13.3 million tonnes, this will mean an increase in non-quota sugar production to 4.1 million tonnes, a year-onyear rise of around 2.4 million tonnes. Outlook: Continued high domestic demand Despite the increase in production in the EU, there will still be supply problems even in the new financial year. This is due to the low stocks at the beginning of the financial year, as well as the continuing high demand in the EU – which in our opinion has been underestimated by the European Commission. Moreover, no rise is expected in imports from ACP/LDC countries. Against this background, the EU must therefore reach a decision early on continuing the additional
Changes in sugar production 2011/12 to 2010/11 Estimates in per cent Austria Belgium Czech Republic Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Italy Lithuania Netherlands Poland Rumania Slovakia Spain Sweden U.K. EU -5
The supply situation remains tense despite high production.
Source: F.O. Licht
MARKETs AND CLIENTS
measures adopted in the last financial year to supply the EU sugar market. The preferred choice of instrument here must be the release of non-quota sugar. The significant fluctuation in prices on the world market for sugar in recent months will most probably continue, particularly because of the uncertainty in the financial markets. But the expected growth in stocks will probably ultimately lead to slightly lower prices overall on the world market. n
Dr Klaus Schumacher Group Vice President Communications, Economics, Public Affairs
Thordis Möller Economics
Early start to the 2011/12 campaign, Nordzucker factory in Clauen.
Change in sugar price since 2006
Sugar production and consumption around the world
In EUR per tonne
2002 – 2011 632 €/t
550 542 €/t
450 404 €/t
EU reference price
EU market price
Source: EU price reporting 15/09/2011
World market price €/t
-50 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Change in cultivated area in % (right-hand scale)
Consumption (in 1,000 tonnes, left-hand scale) Production (in 1,000 tonnes, left-hand scale)
Source: F.O. Licht
Sugar on the world market is still more expensive than in the EU. A good harvest is expected in the EU in 2011/12.
MARKETS AND CLIENTS
What is our sugar used for?
Just almonds, sugar and the “sweet secret” We visit Niederegger How is a marzipan star or a tasty marzipan loaf produced? In Lübeck, I went to look in detail at how Nordzucker and almonds are turned in marzipan. Eva Mura, my colleague at Niederegger takes me on a tour of the production facilities. Before we start though, I pull on a white lab coat which extends down below my knees, take off my watch, and put on a disposable hat. I have to make sure that all my hair is tucked away safely beneath the hat.
The tour can now begin. And that means starting with almonds. Niederegger is supplied with almonds from the Mediterranean area. They are sent to Lübeck without their wooden shells. The light coloured nut is only covered by a thin brown skin. We have arrived in the room where the almonds are stripped of this last coating. It is loud. We have to shout into each other’s ears to make ourselves understood. Otherwise all you can hear is the noise of the machinery. Three boiling machines are working at the same time. Each one consists of a large funnel, a horizontal pipe extending to the left and a wide vertical pipe with a diameter about the same as the
length of my arm. The almonds fall through the funnel onto a strongly vibrating conveyor belt. That is why it is so loud in the room. The belt travels through the pipe. As well as being shaken up, the almonds are also exposed to steam, which loosens the skin so that it can be shaken off. When they arrive at the bottom, the almonds are flushed with water in the second pipe. A vibrating spiral conveyer then raises the almonds to another level where the almonds pass in front of an infrared camera. This checks whether the almonds have been skinned and are white. Back to the start The apparently spotless almonds are then transported into the next room. We follow.
This is where sugar enters the scene. Fine to medium-grained crystal sugar.
It is much quieter here. Seven women sit around a one-meter-wide conveyor belt. The almonds travel past in front of their eyes. The “almond ladies” manually check what the infrared monitoring camera missed and send back the almonds which have not yet been stripped of their brown skins. This is important because quality is a big priority here. At the end of the conveyor belt, the almonds fall into a stainless steel container. Jets spray on some water. The almonds are drawn upwards through a small pipe by the suction of the water. This transports them into a third room – the production area. It smells of almond oil. The heat of the room wafts the scent in my direction in a matter of seconds. The pipe then runs downwards again behind us at the back of the room. At the end of the pipe, it spits out almonds which are then washed again in two large perforated copper drums. The almonds constantly arriving at one end, push the almonds that are already there to the front. Water suction then transports them again through a pipe to the next station. This is where sugar enters the scene. Fine to medium-grained crystal sugar. The almonds fall from above on the right into a funnel and then into a large rectangular tub. It has weighing scales attached. The sugar now rains down from above on the left to join the almonds. Two thirds almonds to one third sugar – the basic recipe for marzipan. Add a bit of water to be able to stir the mixture better. There are two of these weighing and mixing installations. The mixture then travels from the container to a roller on a conveyor belt. The roller is made of granite. Like a huge heavy mangle, the roller crushes the sugaralmond mixture. First coarsely. And then on to a second roller with a finer surface. Niederegger currently produces around 30 tonnes of marzipan per day. Shimmering heat above the kettles The almond and sugar dough is the raw marzipan mixture. Niederegger does not
Niederegger currently produces 30 tonnes of the finest marzipan every day in a huge range of shapes.
MARKETS AND CLIENTS
A large stirrer turns constantly in the roasting kettle to ensure that nothing burns on at the bottom.
add any more sugar in the subsequent processing steps – unlike other manufacturers which do add sugar. The mixture that is squeezed out by the rollers is pushed into 100-kilogramme trolleys by a man with an oversized dough scraper. The mixture is then again transported to a higher level, the trolley being moved up to a roasting kettle. There are 20 of them standing in the room in two rows. It is warm in here. The round copper cauldrons are heated from below with an open flame. I can see the heat shimmering above the kettles. A large stirrer turns constantly in the kettles to ensure that nothing burns on at the bottom. The marzipan mixture now has a temperature of 90 degrees Celsius. Eva Mura explains: “This is where the marzipan gets its aroma. And the sugar crystals are melted by the heat.” Smiling she adds: “So that nothing crunches when people bite into the marzipan.” Before the now cream-white marzipan can be processed further, it has to be cooled down again. This is done in a large copper kettle into which dry ice is blown from above onto the marzipan mixture. The mixture then goes on further into a type of mincer which presses the marzipan into huge 50-kilogramme blocks. They are then vacuum-packed and stored for further processing.
Niederegger’s sweet secret But the most important ingredient is still missing. Although a mixture of almonds and sugar is marzipan, it is not Niederegger marzipan. This requires the addition of the “sweet secret”. It is apparently a liquid similar to rose water. This is added after a few days of resting in the maturing room. We now go to the final processing area. Mmm – it smells really good here! It smells of warm chocolate. The machine which is stamping out marzipan stars is my favourite: it is filled with marzipan paste at the top, and at the bottom, a large black roller presses out the stars. I count 15 stars in a row. How many rows are there? Maybe ten? Whatever, a galaxy of stars lands on the conveyor belt in no time at all. And then the best bit: stars fall onto a second conveyor belt where they lie with their backs facing upwards. They are now coated with chocolate. The naked marzipan stars with the chocolate coated bases are cooled down and then “chocolated” a second time. The bases of the stars are therefore double chocolated. Aha, that is why they make such a nice cracking sound! When the stars have been coated with chocolate twice over, the star conveyor belt then passes through a second 20-metre-long cooling duct. The stars are now cool, ready and can be wrapped. In the packaging line, not only stars are being packed, but also
What the infrared camera misses is found by the “almond ladies”.
Stars, hearts, loaves and marzipan pieces are being packaged.
arzipan loaves, hearts and marzipan pieces. m The brightly coloured thin aluminium foil runs through a machine and packages every star separately. One breaks every now and again. This is my chance: I can officially eat a fresh marzipan star – fantastic! Once the stars have been wrapped up, they are put into cartons by hand. Countless cartons of stars, loaves, good-luck piglets and Father Christmases are stacked at the end of the hall. Niederegger has 300 different marzipan articles in its range. And a third of each one is Nordzucker. n
Nina Tatter Corporate Communications
Bremer Klaben Ingredients: 2 200 ml 750 g 130 g 1 Tsp 1 Tbsp 1 Tsp 6 drops 2 pinches 2 pinches 250 g 300 g 150 g 100-150 g 100 g 50 g
packets of dry yeast milk, warm flour “Unser Feinster” sugar from SweetFamily salt rum lemon peel, grated bitter almond oil cardamom, ground mace, ground butter, clarified raisins currants candied peel almonds, ground SweetFamily icing sugar
Preparation: Place the flour into a mixing bowl and mix it together with the dry yeast, grated lemon peel, cardamom and mace. Add the sugar and the milk and knead everything into a smooth dough. Now also knead in the salt, rum, bitter almond oil and clarified butter. Allow the dough to rise for about an hour in a warm place. Then knead in the currants, candied peel, raisins and almonds. Shape the dough into a loaf and bake at 150 °C for 45 – 55 minutes. Brush the butter onto the slightly cooled Klaben loaf and sprinkle with the icing sugar.
Preparation time: Approx. 45 minutes excluding the waiting times
Nutritional values per 100 g: Energy: 365 kcal Fat: 13.8 g Carbohydrates: 53.2 g Protein: 5.6 g
Published on Apr 11, 2012