Cefetra parent BayWa has reported increased earnings on marginally lower revenues from its agribusiness interests in the first three months of 2020. Coronavirus has impacted some areas of operations while benefitting others.

The German multinational group’s Agriculture segment posted an EBIT of €9.8 million on revenues of €2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2020, compared to €6.1m and €2.8bn in Q1 2029.

Its international grain and feed materials trading was adversely affected by coronavirus controls during the period, especially in southern Europe, with “subdued” exports and sales of standard products such as wheat and corn, while speciality products were more stable.

German agricultural commodities and crop inputs business was similar to Q1 2019 save for fertiliser, where weather conditions deferred some business into Q2. Trading in Austria was up year-on-year.

However, the rise in earnings was due to an increases in new farm equipment sales in the period, together with increased demand for maintenance and servicing, while the Global Product fruit trading business unit saw strong demand related to the consumer panic buying in the early stages of the coronavirus shutdown.

The BayWa Group, which also comprises building materials and renewable and conventional energy activities, made a negative EBIT of €27.8m on revenues of €3.9bn, from the -€13.8m and €4.1bn a year earlier. Prior year EBIT was inflated by asset disposals, while the majority of full year earnings are generated later in the year.

“BayWa is a key part of the economy, which is why all areas of the company have been able to continue their business activities and perform the associated basic supply function over the past few weeks during the coronavirus-related shutdown,” notes group chief executive Klaus Josef Lutz.