ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, US — Strong global demand across key businesses boosted CHS, Inc.’s earnings to $452 million in the first quarter of 2022 ended Nov. 30, 2021, up from $69.7 million in the same period a year earlier. Demand was lower a year ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said.

“Our exceptionally strong financial performance in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022 reflects the support of local cooperatives and producers, as well as the hard work and dedication of our employees around the world, who remain focused on delivering superior value for our owners,” said Jay Debertin, president and chief executive officer of CHS Inc. “That support and hard work, along with the investments we continue to make in critical assets and technology advancements are leading to operational improvements and stronger customer engagement, which are driving earnings momentum.”

The Ag segment experienced robust global demand that drove commodity prices higher leading to an increase of $203.4 million from last year to pretax earnings of $286.4 million.

Lower volumes in the quarter were attributable to a smaller overall wheat crop due to drought conditions in some parts of the United States and the impact from Hurricane Ida on the Gulf Coast.

Refining margins were higher in the Energy segment and the company also experienced more favorable pricing for Canadian crude oil, which is processed by CHS refineries.

Pretax earnings for the Energy segment totaled $69.2 million, which compared with a loss of $67.18 million in the same period a year ago.

Higher refining margins were partially offset by the higher cost of renewable energy credits compared to a year ago. Additionally, lower propane margins due to the reversal of unrealized hedging gains also impacted the first quarter of fiscal 2022.

“Our Energy segment continues to see both margin and volume expansion driven by increased global demand,” Debertin said. “I remain positive for the year ahead as we continue to improve the customer experience and create efficiency gains throughout our expansive network, all of which is leading to increased market access, added value and sustainable growth for our local cooperative and farmer owners.”

Equity earnings from the company's CF Nitrogen investment improved as a result of increased urea and urea ammonium nitrate pricing due to favorable market conditions.

Pretax earnings of the Nitrogen Production segment totaled $96.6 million, up sharply from $4.47 million in the same period a year ago.

Pretax earnings within the Corporate and Other segment were $14.47 million, down from $24.74 million in the same period a year ago.

CHS said lower equity income from its investment in Ventura Foods, which experienced less favorable market conditions for edible oils, was a factor in the results.