Bunge outlook lowered on weakness in South America

by Eric Schroeder
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Credit Suisse lowered its third quarter and 2017 earnings-per-share estimates on Bunge.

NEW YORK — Credit Suisse on Oct. 6 lowered its third quarter and 2017 earnings-per-share estimates on Bunge Ltd. to 61c and $3, down from $1.18 and $3.92, respectively. Additionally, Credit Suisse lowered its 2018 estimate to $5.30.

Robert Moskow, Credit Suisse
Robert Moskow, research analyst with Credit Suisse

“Weak crush margins and slow farmer selling in Brazil and Argentina did not improve like we hoped it would in 3Q,” Robert Moskow, research analyst with Credit Suisse, wrote in the report. “Access to cheap financing from Argentinian government lending programs and more on-farm storage have given farmers more negotiating power to hold onto their beans for longer. South American crush margins are probably half of what they were a year ago even though U.S. crush margins remain strong. In addition, local ethanol prices in Brazil have fallen in sympathy with sugar prices, thus squeezing Bunge’s margins in the near term.”

Mr. Moskow indicated that while the case could be made that the aforementioned issues may improve in the fourth quarter, Credit Suisse has taken a more conservative approach with its estimates for the fourth quarter, lowering its estimate to $1.89, down from the industry consensus of $2.16.

“We note that our 4Q is still 20c above year ago even though business conditions are arguably worse,” Mr. Moskow said. “Our Agribusiness estimate for $262 million of profit in 4Q is now below management’s implied guidance for $300 million.”

Looking ahead to fiscal 2018, Mr. Moskow said Credit Suisse anticipates $5.30 in e.p.s. during the year, as conditions remain weak but get closer to normal.
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