Higher ethanol prices boost ADM's profits in bioproducts division

By Holly Jessen | August 02, 2011

Bioproducts was one of the bright spots in Archer Daniel Midland Co.’s fourth quarter report, released Aug. 2. Profit was up by $88 million to $109 million thanks, in part, to higher ethanol prices, the company said. Other factors included favorable ownership positions and strong demand for food and feed ingredients, particularity lysine.

For the full fiscal year, which ended June 30, ADM’s bioproducts profits were at $742 million. That compares to $193 million for fiscal year 2010.

On the other hand, the corn processing division saw a decrease in operating profits in the fourth quarter, earning $118 million, a drop of $22 million from the same time period last year. “While processed volumes were up 15 percent, net corn costs increased significantly from the fourth quarter of last year,” the company said. Still, corn processing did well for the total fiscal year, increasing from $722 in 2010 to $1,062 in 2011.

Specifically, sweeteners and starches earned only $9 million in operating profit, down $110 million. Again, higher net corn prices more than offset higher average selling prices and sales volumes.

Overall, for the fiscal year, ADM reported net earnings of $2 billion, up five percent from last year. The company also had record segment operating profit of $4 billion, up 24 percent, earning $3.13 per share.

For the fourth quarter, net earnings sat at $381 million, which was down $65 million from the same time period last year. On the other hand, segment operating profit increased by $89 million to $888 million.

“Despite a challenging environment in several key markets, ADM delivered solid operating results across all our businesses for the quarter,” said Patricia Woertz, ADM chairman and CEO. “We earned record operating profit for the fiscal year with our growing global asset base, diversified product portfolio and the acumen of the ADM team. Looking ahead, we are confident in our people, our assets and our financial strength to deliver profitable growth and value for our shareholders as we serve the vital needs of a growing world.”