ADM reports 30% increase in earnings

by World Grain Staff
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DECATUR, ILLINOIS, U.S. — Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) reported on Feb. 1 second-quarter net earnings of $732 million and record quarterly segment operating profit of $1.4 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2010, up $165 million and $392 million, respectively, from the same period one year earlier.

ADM earned $1.14 diluted EPS, a 30% increase versus last year’s 88¢ second quarter.

Segment operating profit of $1.4 billion was a record, up 40% from the same period in the prior year.

Oilseeds Processing profit declined $27 million as improved results from operations were more than offset by mark-to-market timing effects.

Corn Processing profit increased $109 million on favorable corn ownership, increased ADM ethanol production and strong export sweetener demand.

Agricultural Services results increased $276 million as ADM was well positioned to meet strong global grain demand and shipped record volumes through its U.S. origination and export network.

“The ADM team delivered outstanding performance across the board, resulting in record operating profit. Amid strong demand and regional dislocations, we used our vast global network to deliver for our customers and shareholders,” said Patricia Woertz, ADM chairman and chief executive officer. “Looking ahead, global markets remain dynamic. In this environment, we use ADM’s exceptional capabilities, our unique global asset base and the insights of our team to drive value and to serve vital needs.”

Net earnings for the second-quarter of $732 million increased $165 million due to a $392 million increase in segment operating profit. This increase was partially offset by changes in LIFO inventory valuations, included in corporate, caused by higher agricultural commodity prices. Earnings before income taxes include a LIFO charge of $254 million this quarter, or 25¢ per share, compared to a LIFO charge of $54 million last year, or 5¢ per share. The company’s effective income tax rate for the quarter was 27%, comparable to the prior year’s second quarter rate of 28%.

Oilseeds operating profit in the second-quarter declined $27 million to $325 million.

Crushing and origination operating profit increased $7 million to $200 million for the quarter. Globally, ADM’s crushing volumes were essentially flat compared to the year-ago quarter. ADM’s acquisition of the controlling interest in Golden Peanut, and the resulting revaluation, generated a pretax gain of $71 million. South American results strengthened on improved fertilizer and grain origination income. European results were lower due to mark-to-market timing effects related to substantial increases in commodity prices, effects that were partially offset by improved margins, including the impact of favorable softseed positioning.

Refining, packaging, biodiesel and other generated a profit of $78 million for the quarter, similar to prior year results.

Oilseeds results in Asia declined $36 million to $47 million for the quarter, reflecting ADM’s share of the weaker results from its equity investee, Wilmar International Limited.

For the quarter, corn processing operating profit increased $109 million to a profit of $399 million, enhanced by favorable corn ownership positions. Corn processing volumes were up 24%, reflecting the ramp-up of the company’s two new dry mills.

Sweeteners and starches operating profit decreased $52 million from the prior year to $119 million, due to lower average selling prices and higher net corn costs. Sales volumes were up due to improved export sweetener shipments and stronger U.S. demand for industrial starches.

Bioproducts profit in the quarter rose $161 million to $280 million, driven by improved ethanol margins and volumes, and by stronger lysine margins.

Agricultural Services operating profit increased $276 million to $426 million for the second quarter.

Merchandising and handling profit increased $273 million to $376 million on strong results from global merchandising operations and on record ADM export volumes from the U.S.

Earnings from transportation operations improved on higher barge-freight rates and volumes.

Global supplies of corn, soybeans, canola and rapeseed remain dynamic. The global supply of wheat is ample, though there are some regional dislocations and quality issues. South American farmers have begun harvesting their crops. In North America, farmers are considering planting decisions.

Globally, demand for crops and processed products remains strong. Global demand for protein meal is being led by good demand from Asia. The one-year extensions of the blenders’ credits and the U.S. EPA’s recent decisions on enhanced ethanol blending are supportive of biofuels. U.S. corn-based ethanol remains the most competitive ethanol in the global market. Mexican demand for corn sweetener continues to be strong.
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