Seaboard's earnings down in first quarter

by World Grain Staff
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SHAWNEE MISSION, KANSAS, U.S. — Seaboard Corp. reported on May 4 earnings for the first-quarter ended March 31 of $82.2 million or $68 per share compared to $116.8 million or $96.11 per share for the first-quarter 2011 ended April 2, 2011.

Total net sales were up slightly to $1.47 billion, compared to $1.46 billion a year ago.

In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Seaboard said net sales for the Commodity Trading and Milling segment increased $12.3 million for the first quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter of 2011. The increase was partly due to higher volumes of wheat sales to non-consolidated affiliates. 

In the first quarter of 2011, net sales included $101.1 million related to previously deferred costs and deferred revenues under contracts for which the final sale prices were not fixed and determinable until the first quarter of 2011.

Operating income for this segment increased $2.6 million for the first quarter of 2012, compared to the first quarter of 2011, Seaboard said in the filing. The increase primarily reflect higher margins on commodity sales, especially wheat sales to non-consolidated affiliates, partially offset by the $5.7 million fluctuation of marking to market the derivative contracts. Excluding the effects of these derivative contracts, operating income increased $8.3 million for the first quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter of 2011.

Due to the uncertain political and economic conditions in the countries in which Seaboard operates and the current volatility in the commodity markets, management is unable to predict future sales and operating results for the remainder of 2012.

Had Seaboard not applied mark-to-market accounting to its derivative instruments, operating income for this segment would have been lower by $6.3 million and $12 million, for the first quarter of 2012 and 2011, respectively.

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