Drought drags down first-quarter financials at ADM

by Eric Schroeder
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DECATUR, ILL. — Last summer’s drought contributed to a 33% decline in first-quarter earnings at Archer Daniels Midland Co. Net income in the period ended March 31 was $269 million, equal to 41c per share on the common stock, down from $399 million, or 60c per share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. ADM’s adjusted earnings per share, which excludes the impact of LIFO, restructuring costs and other adjustments, was 48c, down 38% from a year ago.

Segment operating profit for the first quarter was $630 million, down 31% from $918 million in the same period a year ago.

Net sales in the first quarter were $21,727 million, up 3% from $21,155 million in the same period a year ago.

“As expected, this was a challenging quarter, with agricultural services negatively impacted by the ongoing effects of last summer’s U.S. drought,” said Patricia Woertz, chairman and chief executive officer of ADM. “In oilseeds, our earnings were reduced by challenges in Brazil and depressed margins in cocoa. Our ethanol business improved as declining inventories supported overall industry margins, and we began to see positive results from the actions we’ve been taking to improve the profitability of that business.

“We continue to manage through tight U.S. stocks of oilseeds and grains until the North American harvest. Demand for our products remains solid, and we will continue to leverage our global origination and processing network to serve the needs of our customers worldwide.”

In the company’s Corn Processing segment, operating profit rose 15% to $153 million from $133 million.

Net sales and other operating income in the segment rose 8%, to $3,053 million from $2,835 million. Within the segment, sweeteners and starches profit fell 20% to $76 million from $95 million while bioproducts profit increased 60% to $77 million.

“This quarter’s results included a $44 million negative timing effect related to open corn cash-flow hedges at quarter end (about 4c per share), up from $11 million in the same period last year,” ADM said. “Sweeteners and starches operating profit decreased $19 million to $76 million, and was improved when adjusted for corn hedge-program timing effects, as solid demand translated to tight sweetener industry capacity.”

ADM’s Oilseeds Processing segment profit tumbled 42% in the quarter, falling to $313 million from $542 million. Sales and other operating income in the segment rose 6% to $8,143 million from $7,715 million.

ADM said crushing and origination operating profit was $156 million in the first quarter, down sharply from a year ago.

“In North America, softseed crushing results were down from last year’s strong results as tight supplies affected seed basis and capacity utilization,” ADM said. “North American soybean crushing results were strong in the quarter, but margins and production declined through the quarter amid weaker export meal demand and lower bean availability. In South America, higher trucking costs and reluctant farmer selling negatively impacted results. European crushing and origination results continued to recover, aided by reduced imports of North and South American meal.”

The company’s Agricultural Services segment posted a 42% decrease in operating profit during the first quarter of fiscal 2013, falling to $151 million from $261 million in fiscal 2012. Sales and other operating income in the segment eased to $10,500 million from $10,571 million.

“Milling and other results remained steady, excluding last year’s $21 million equity income from Gruma,” ADM said. “ADM disposed of its ownership in Gruma in December 2012. The milling business continued to perform well.”

The ADM Other segment posted operating income of $13 million, up from a loss of $18 million, while sales and other operating income fell 9% to $31 million from $34 million.

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