Agribusiness results push Bunge earnings up

by World Grain Staff
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WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK, U.S. — Bunge reported on July 31 that profit for the second quarter was $288 million, up significantly from $136 a year ago, due to strong agribusiness sales. 

Per share earnings, including certain dividend payments, was $1.81 compared with 75¢. Excluding gains and charges, the per share profit from continuing operations was $1.71 compared to 74¢ a year earlier. Sales increased 8.4% to $16.79 billion.

“We had a strong performance in the second quarter with all segments reporting higher year-over-year results. Strong global oilseed processing margins, driven by big crops and growing demand, led to significantly better results in agribusiness,” said Soren Schroder, Bunge’s chief executive officer. “Improved operational and commercial performance and the addition of our new wheat mills in Mexico contributed to a record quarter in food & ingredients. The results demonstrate the potential of this segment and the value of managing integrated oilseed and grain chains. Sugar & bioenergy performed as expected, due in part to our continued progress in containing costs and increasing productivity.” 

Sales in agribusiness increased 11% to $12.86 billion, mostly due to a strong global oilseed processing environment in most regions of the world, Bunge said. 

In the Southern Hemisphere, record soybean crops, strong export demand and good farmer selling led to solid processing margins. Oilseed processing results were also higher in the Northern Hemisphere led by strong softseed margins in Canada and soybean margins in 
Europe. U.S. soybean processing results were comparable to last year. 
Results in China were down. Grain origination results were within expectations, but lower than last year primarily due to Brazilian farmers postponing commercialization of the safrinha corn crop as a result of the drop in market prices. Risk management results were comparable to last year and in line with expectations. 

Strong results in edible oil products were driven by improved performances in Brazil and in Europe with both regions expanding margins and tightly managing costs and working capital. While margins expanded in North America, one-time costs in logistics due to backlogs and some short-term cost increases in maintenance led to lower results in this region. Results in Argentina were flat with last year; results in Asia were slightly lower. 

Record results in milling products were driven by strong performances in wheat milling operations in Brazil and Mexico. In Brazil, results benefitted from an increased focus on margins and driving greater efficiencies in our plants and supply chain network. Milling results in Mexico reflected a new wheat milling acquisition and synergies from its integration with Bunge’s existing operation. Results in U.S. corn milling were lower than last year primarily due to lower margins. Results in rice milling were comparable to last year. 

Higher results in our sugarcane milling and biofuels businesses more than offset lower results in the company’s trading & merchandising operation. 

“We expect the momentum of the second quarter to carry through for the remainder of the year and that we will meet or exceed our targeted full-year combined returns in agribusiness and food & ingredients of 1.5 points above cost of capital. In agribusiness, big Northern Hemisphere crops combined with strong global livestock economics should continue to drive demand and encourage trade,” Schroder said. “In food & ingredients, we expect continued strong results as our performance improvement initiatives reach greater scale. And in sugar & bioenergy, we are now entering the peak milling season and continue to forecast full year breakeven EBIT.

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