ADM reports positive net earnings, improved ethanol results

By Holly Jessen | May 03, 2013

The first quarter financial results of Archer Daniels Midland Co. were a mixed bag, with the ethanol segment showing improved margins while oilseeds earnings were reduced. “Our ethanol business improved as declining inventories supported overall industry margins, and we began to see positive results from the actions we’ve been taking to improve the profitability of that business,” said ADM Chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz.

The company said in a May 1 press release that net earnings for the quarter ending March 31 were $268 million, or 41 cents per share. That’s down from 60 cents a share in the same quarter of 2012. Adjusted earnings per share were 48 cents, a decrease from the 78 cents per share in quarter one of last year. “As expected, this was a challenging quarter, with agricultural services negatively impacted by the ongoing effects of last summer’s U.S. drought,” said ADM Chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz.

Profit for the company’s oilseeds business was reduced to $229 million due to challenges in Brazil and lowered margins for cocoa. However, demand for products remains high and ADM anticipates it will continue to leverage its world-wide network for origination and processing to serve its customers. “We continue to manage through tight U.S. stocks of oilseeds and grains until the North American harvest,” she said.  

Profits for corn processing increased in total by $20 million compared to the same time period the year before to a total of $153 million as a result of profits in the ethanol segment. Looking at bioproducts results specifically, there was a $39 million increase in profits to $77 million. On the other hand, a $44 million pretax charge from corn hedge timing effects negatively impacted profits in sweeteners and starches.

In other news, ADM also announced it intended to make a cash offer to acquire the outstanding common shares of GrainCorp Ltd. An aggregate transaction value of about $39 billion is implied by the offer. GrainCorp is Australia’s leading agribusiness company, with grain handling and processing in Australia and overseas. Although GrainCorp has indicated the ADM offer would be unanimously recommended, there are still additional steps required before the acquisition is approved and goes through.

The company also held its 90th Annual Stockholders’ Meeting on May 2, during which 12 incumbent directors were re-elected to the ADM board. The list includes, Alan L. Boeckmann, George W. Buckley, Mollie Hale Carter, Terrell K. Crews, Pierre Dufour, Donald E. Felsinger, Antonio Maciel Neto, Patrick J. Moore, Thomas F. O’Neill, Daniel T. Shih, Kelvin R. Westbrook and Woertz.

At the meeting, ADM also declared a cash dividend of 19 cents per share on the company’s common stock. The payment is ADM’s 326th consecutive quarterly payment, adding up to 81 years of uninterrupted dividends, the press release said.