Changes in tax rate, corn hedge effects lift ADM earnings

by Jeff Gelski
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DECATUR, ILL. – A lower effective tax rate and lower charges in corn hedge effects helped boost Archer Daniels Midland Co. to higher third-quarter earnings.

Net earnings of $476 million, or 72c per share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared to $182 million, or 28c per share, in the third quarter of the previous year. Adjusted earnings per share were 46c, down from adjusted earnings per share of 53c in the previous year’s third quarter. The adjusted e.p.s of 46c excluded about $298 million, or 28c per share, in pretax LIFE credits. Adjusted earnings per share fell primarily because of lower Agricultural Services operating profit.

ADM in this year’s third quarter had an effective tax rate of 32%, which compared to 38% in the previous year’s third quarter when asset impairment charges and other items had a negative impact. Corn hedge effects in the third quarter were a charge of $11 million, which compared to $31 million in the previous year.

Net sales of $21,393 million compared to $21,808 million in the previous year’s third quarter. Net debt was $3.4 billion, which compared to $8.8 billion a year ago.

“The team delivered solid operating results overall, despite the lingering effects of the 2012 U.S. drought,” said Patricia Woertz, chairman of ADM, when the company gave third-quarter results Oct. 29.

Oilseeds operating profit in the third quarter was $361 million, up from $336 million in the previous year’s third quarter. Within Oilseeds, crushing and origination operating profit fell to $242 million from $256 million. Refining, packaging, biodiesel and other had third-quarter profit of $85 million, up from $28 million, and cocoa and other had operating profit of $5 million, down from $29 million. Operating profit for Asia was $29 million, up from $23 million.

Corn processing operating profit in the third quarter increased to $159 million from $68 million in the previous year’s third quarter thanks to improved results from ethanol. Excluding the impact of corn hedge ineffectiveness, sweeteners and starches third-quarter operating profit declined to $99 million from $125 million. Excluding the impact of corn hedge ineffectiveness, bio-products third-quarter operating profit increased to $71 million from an operating loss of $26 million in the previous year’s third quarter. Ethanol margins were profitable though volatile.

Unadjusted, operating profit for Agricultural Services was $102 million, up from $78 million in the previous year’s third quarter. Adjusted, operating profit or Agricultural Services declined $152 million from the previous year’s third quarter. Adjustments came in year-ago charges related to Gruma and intercompany insurance settlements of about $30 million in the current period. ADM on Dec. 17, 2012, announced it had sold its 23% interest in Gruma S.A.B. de C.V. and its equity investments in related joint ventures for $450 million plus an additional contingent payment of up to $60 million.

Through the nine-month period ended Sept. 30, ADM had net earnings of $968 million, or $1.46 per share, which compared to $865 million, or $1.31 per share, in the same time period of the previous year. Nine-month adjusted e.p.s. was $1.35 per share, down from $1.69 per share. Nine-month sales increased to $65,661 million from $65,638 million.

“Looking forward, as record global crop supplies refill the pipeline, we will employ our efficient network to meet strong demand from customers around the world,” Ms. Woertz said.
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