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K+S : Manuscript of speech - Dr Burkhard Lohr

05/12/2021 | 10:56am EDT

Annual General Meeting of K+S Aktiengesellschaft on May 12, 2021

Speech of the Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, Dr. Burkhard Lohr

- The spoken word is binding -

Page 2 of 10 "Annual General Meeting of K+S Aktiengesellschaft - Speech by Dr. Burkhard Lohr" of May 12, 2021

Dear Shareholders,

Dear Shareholder Representatives,

Dear Media Representatives,

Dear Customers,

Dear Colleagues,

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

On behalf of the entire Board of Executive Directors, I would like to welcome you to our Annual General Meeting. We hope to reach you in good health at the screens.

I would also like to welcome our new colleague Holger Riemensperger. He has been a member the Board of Executive Directors team since April 1, 2021.

We very much look forward to working with you, dear Holger Riemensperger.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, we are once again restricted to a virtual format for this year's meeting. I very much regret that! Instead, I would much rather have welcomed you in person to report on the business development and prospects of your K+S.

With the anticipated progress in combating the pandemic, we hope to have the opportunity of welcoming you again next year at a face-to-face event in Kassel. We are already looking forward to seeing you again!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

the economic development in 2020 is disappointing for all of us. Nevertheless, we consistently accomplished what we had promised you: The important milestones for substantially reducing our debt and further increasing efficiency have been achieved. In this way, we mastered all tasks we could handle ourselves in a very short time.

I would like to focus more closely on five key measures with a particularly high leverage effect:

The first and most decisive measure for K+S: Contrary to the expectations of some observers, we completed the sale of our North and South American salt business to Stone Canyon Industries just a few days ago. The net proceeds of about 2.6 billion euros will be completely

Page 2 of 10 "Annual General Meeting of K+S Aktiengesellschaft - Speech by Dr. Burkhard Lohr" of May 12, 2021

appropriated to repay debt. Everyone involved at K+S has worked hard and with focus to realize this successful transaction. On behalf of the entire Board of Executive Directors, I would like to express my sincere thanks for this extraordinary commitment!

I would like to take this opportunity, together with Thorsten Boeckers, to thank our long-standing colleague Mark Roberts for his successful work and the outstanding collaboration in our team. Mark has played a decisive role in shaping K+S in many respects. We wish him and his team in the Americas all the best for the future and continued success!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

let's now turn to the second measure of great importance for our future: the signing of the agreements to establish the REKS joint venture with the Remondis subsidiary REMEX. In this new partnership, we combine our unique infrastructure of state-of-the-art waste management operations with REMEX's extensive distribution network.

What is being created here is:

  • a new champion in the waste management business,
  • a profitable business in an attractive growth market, and
  • an important component of our strategic realignment.

Our focus is on the most efficient utilization of residual materials while at the same time protecting natural resources. With the closing of this transaction, we will generate a cash inflow of around 90 million euros before taxes. Moreover, we will realize a book gain of around 200 million euros. A further step towards reducing debt.

As a third measure, we completed the restructuring of our administration in a just a few months. This will reduce our administrative costs by 60 million euros per year. In other words, we are saving almost 30 percent!

We managed the necessary reduction of around 300 full-time positions in a socially responsible manner and in close consultation with our social partners. Through a voluntary program and a transfer company, we almost completely avoided compulsory redundancies.

Page 2 of 10 "Annual General Meeting of K+S Aktiengesellschaft - Speech by Dr. Burkhard Lohr" of May 12, 2021

The fourth leveraging measure is the intensification of our efforts in terms of process optimization and operational excellence. We have achieved the target set for 2021 of leveraging more than 150 million euros per year in synergies in Procurement, Logistics, Production, as well as Sales and Marketing.

Finally, as a fifth measure, we succeeded in increasing production volumes at all our sites. This involved both our domestic sites and our Bethune potash plant in Canada. There we produced just under two million tonnes of potash for the first time. This was achieved with very good product quality. Increased production resulted in an overall increase in sales volumes of one million tonnes to over 7 million tonnes.

Dear Shareholders,

This concludes the status of our priority tasks.

Environmental issues continue to be equally challenging and essential for us in the long term:

In this respect, too, we made great progress last year. Shortly before Christmas, the state parliaments of Hesse and Thuringia approved the amendment of the state treaty on the cross- border mining of potash salts by an overwhelming majority. This is an important prerequisite for our future waste management concept at the Werra plant. At the same time, the parliaments are expressing their strong commitment to the domestic mining industry. That's something we are particularly grateful for.

This strengthens the security of the K+S sites for our employees too and encourages us to be on the right track. As you know, we will finally discontinue injection at the end of this year. Underground storage of saline solutions is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2022. We are working intensively to obtain the necessary permits over the course of the year.

The tailings pile expansions at the Wintershall and Zielitz sites have already been approved. We therefore have long-term planning security for our potash production in Hesse and Saxony- Anhalt.

I would now like to turn to the 2020 annual financial statements.

Page 2 of 10 "Annual General Meeting of K+S Aktiengesellschaft - Speech by Dr. Burkhard Lohr" of May 12, 2021

Ladies and Gentlemen

Given the specific circumstances, I would like to start by saying that the 2020 annual financial statements have received an unqualified opinion by the auditors. Normally, this is not worth mentioning. Against the background of the ongoing examination by the German Financial Reporting Enforcement Panel ("FREP"), which you are aware of, however, I consider this note to be important. Since this is a pending proceeding, I will now limit my comments to the following information:

(1): At the beginning of November 2020 we informed the public about the non-cash impairment on assets in the Europe+ operating unit. This was necessary following an adjustment of the long-term assumptions for the potash business. An increase in the cost of capital was also considered. The impairment in the consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2020 amounts to a total of 1.86 billion euros. It is therefore around 140 million euros lower than initially expected.

(2): At the request of BaFin (Federal Financial Supervisory Authority), the FREP's examination focuses on the timing and amount of this impairment. We have assured our comprehensive support to the FREP, provided numerous documents and responded to several questions in the meantime. As expected, the result will only be available in a few months.

(3): As the Board of Executive Directors, we continue to be firmly convinced of both our properly performed duties and compliance with all relevant regulations concerning the impairment loss.

I will now proceed to the specific figures for the 2020 financial year:

Compared to 2019, revenues decreased by 9 percent to 3.7 billion euros. At 445 million euros, EBITDA was one-third below the prior-year figure of 640 million euros. Furthermore, the adjusted free cash flow amounted to minus 42 million euros.

Despite the difficult conditions for our business and the additional negative impact of the pandemic, we are not satisfied overall. Let me therefore address the reasons:


K+S AG published this content on 10 May 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 12 May 2021 14:55:01 UTC.

© Publicnow 2021
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Burkhard Lohr Chairman-Executive Board
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Andreas Kreimeyer Chairman-Supervisory Board
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