ADM’s first-quarter earnings hurt by weather

by World Grain Staff
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DECATUR, ILLINOIS, U.S. — Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) reported on April 29 that first-quarter earnings fell to $267 million or 40¢ per share from $269 million and 41¢ per share a year earlier due to harsh winter weather that affected trading operations. 

The company reported adjusted earnings of 55¢ per share, up from 46¢ per share in the same period last year. Segment operating profit was $691 million, up 10% from the year-ago period. Adjusted segment operating profit was $780 million, up 17% from the year-ago period. 

“Our businesses delivered mixed results in the first quarter,” said ADM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patricia Woertz. “Our Ag Services business again generated weak results due to a low margin environment as well as logistics and weather challenges in the U.S. Continued strong performance in Corn was supported by the robust ethanol market. And the sustained, solid results in Oilseeds were driven by good margins and volumes in North and South American soybean crushing. 

“We continued to make good progress during the quarter in our ongoing portfolio management and other key initiatives to improve the earnings power and returns of the company.” 

Milling and other results declined $8 million to $51 million as a lack of the seasonal carry in the wheat futures market reduced grain and feed merchandising opportunities. 

Oilseeds Processing operating profit increased $50 million to $358 million, as North American soybean crushing had strong utilization amid good meal demand, and South American soybean crushing and origination benefited from large harvests, good demand and an improved logistics environment. 

Refining, packaging, biodiesel and other generated a profit of $113 million for the quarter, up $5 million as improved European biodiesel results offset a decline in North America due to the absence of $20 million in biodiesel tax credits recorded in the year-ago period. 

Corn Processing operating profit increased $64 million to $261 million on strong results from ethanol. Bioproducts results increased $77 million to $154 million. Strong export demand and lower industry production volumes combined to drive a steadily improving margin environment throughout the quarter. 

Agricultural Services operating profit increased $2 million to $153 million, as market conditions and higher costs limited merchandising and handling margins. Results for the quarter include the recovery of about $20 million of a previously established loss provision. 
Merchandising and handling earnings declined $17 million to $69 million, as margins were limited both by inverted corn, soybean and wheat markets and by increased costs that were exacerbated by weather. 

Transportation results recovered $27 million to $33 million. Pent-up barge freight demand caused by the harsh U.S. winter pushed freight rates up significantly as river traffic returned in March. 

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