ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — Net income at Louis Dreyfus Co. (LDC) for the first half ended June 30, 2018, totaled $101 million, down 37% from $159 million in the same period of last year.
Net sales eased to $18.809 billion, down narrowly from $18.821 billion in the same period a year ago. LDC said a 6.3% decline in volumes shipped, partially attributed to the company’s sale of its African and Australian Fertilizers and Inputs businesses, was offset by price increases across the company’s main products.
“LDC’s performance remained resilient over the first half of 2018, with both business segments contributing positively to our H1 results,” said Ian McIntosh, chief executive officer. “Notwithstanding a lower net income for the period, we have seen the expected reversal of the negative mark-to-market effect, as we execute our planned crush operations. As a result, at the end of September, year-to-date performance indicates that we are on track to deliver solid results for 2018 overall.
“In an unpredictable global environment with many challenges, our renowned ability to adapt to changing conditions remained a key asset, together with a business strategy that once again proved its relevance. As part of that strategy, the Group strengthened its soybean crushing capabilities in China, completing the acquisition of a crushing plant located in Tianjin, in April, and continued to refocus on core activities, including the profitable divestment of its global metals and Australian fertilizers and inputs operations.”
LDC operates its business worldwide under two segments: Value Chain and Merchandizing. In 2018, the company modified the composition of its two segments. The Value Chain segment now includes the Juice, Grains and Oilseeds platforms, along with Freight and Global Markets (formerly called the Finance Platform). The Merchandizing segment now combines Sugar, Coffee, Cotton, Rice and Dairy.
Total segment operating results in the first half of 2018 totaled $493 million, down 9% from $542 million a year earlier.
The Value Chain segment operating results for the first half of 2018 were $286 million down from $346 million in the same period a year ago.
“The decrease was largely attributable to the strategy of locking in oilseed crush margins during the semester, securing future profits as volumes are processed during the second half of 2018 and into 2019,” LDC said. “Overall, the Oilseeds Platform contributed consistently, with good processing margins over the period, while Grains recorded comparable results to the previous year. The Freight and Global Markets platforms posted strong results for the semester, while the Juice Platform’s processing margins are expected to come in during the high-season in the second half of the year.”
Net sales in the Value Chain segment totaled $13.378 billion, up from $13.203 billion in the same period a year ago.
The Value Chain segment invested $116 million over the period, mostly in expanding processing and logistics capacities.
During the first half of 2018, LDC said it made a third planned capital injection into its joint venture with Cargill to operate a berth at the solid bulk terminal at the port of Santos in Brazil. The joint venture will continue to operate the berth for the next 25 years.
Both the Grains and Oilseeds platforms focused on investing on the river export project in Para state, Brazil, continuing to develop a fleet of barges and pushers. LDC also acquired warehouses in Pozuelo, Paraguay, to further extend its grains and oilseeds storage capacities on the Parana river and to enhance its origination footprint locally.
Within the Oilseeds platform, LDC completed the acquisition of Sinarmas Natural Resources Foodstuff Technology (Tianjin) Co., Ltd. in China. NRFT operates oilseeds crushing and refining facilities with a daily soybean crushing capacity of 4,000 tonnes for the production of soybean meal and crude soybean oil and a daily refining capacity of 1,200 tonnes for the production of refined edible vegetable oil. In North America, LDC investing in its processing plant in Claypool, Indiana, U.S., and in its plant in Yorktown, Saskatchewan, Canada.
LDC said its Grains platform strengthened its domestic origin capabilities in Ukraine, purchasing new railcars in 2018 and announcing plans to add more railcars in subsequent years.
Operating results in the Merchandizing segment totaled $207 million in the first half of 2018, up from $196 million in the same period a year ago. Net sales fell to $5.431 billion from $5.618 billion.
Within the Merchandizing segment, the Rice platform performed “respectably in the face of slow market demand at destination,” LDC said.
“With African markets having already largely restocked as 2018 started, the platform focused on delivering healthy unitary margins rather than on selling additional quantities. Despite a lack of volatility, the platform was able to leverage its longstanding commercial relationships to record solid margins on several Asian origins,” the company said.