Ingredion income falls 7% in fiscal 2013

by Eric Schroeder
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WESTCHESTER, ILL. — Net income at Ingredion Inc. totaled $395.7 million in the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2013, equal to $5.14 per share on the common stock, down 7% from $427.5 million, or $5.59 per share, in fiscal 2012. Sales also were lower, falling 3% to $6,328.3 million from $6,532.1 million.

Despite the declines, Ilene Gordon, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Westchester-based Ingredion, said the company concluded 2013 “on a positive note,” as fourth-quarter results finished largely in line with expectations.

Net income in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 was $103.5 million, or $1.37 per share, down 7% from $111.6 million, or $1.45 per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales were $1,499.2 million, down 9% from $1,643.9 million.

“Notably, Asia Pacific achieved volume and operating income growth in the quarter and record operating income for the full year, and South American volumes in the quarter were positive for the first time this year,” Ms. Gordon said. “These positives were offset by continuing cost pressures and foreign exchange headwinds in South America, particularly Argentina, as well as volume softness in North America that led to unfavorable fixed cost absorption.

 “At the same time, we repurchased 2.5 million shares, bringing our total buyback in 2013 to 3.4 million shares. We also raised our dividend by more than 60% in 2013. We plan to continue to appropriately return capital to shareholders while also maintaining a strong balance sheet that leaves us well positioned for future growth.

“As we look ahead to 2014, we expect to return to earnings-per-share growth. In 2014, the primary drivers of the bottom-line growth should be improved performance in all four regions. We will also benefit from the accretion derived from our significant share repurchase late in 2013.”

In North America, fiscal 2013 operating income eased 2% to $400.8 million from $407.6 million in fiscal 2012. Ingredion said favorable price/mix, continued focus on cost savings initiatives from manufacturing efficiencies, and the ability to hold dollar margins helped offset volume weakness. Net sales fell 3% to $3,646.9 million from $3,741.7 million, reflecting positive price/mix that was more than offset by negative volume and slight currency headwinds.

Operating income in South America during fiscal 2013 totaled $116.4 million, down 41% from $198.4 million in fiscal 2012. Positive price/mix was offset by higher raw material, energy and labor costs, currency devaluations and lower volumes, the company said. Ingredion noted nearly three-quarters of the operating income decline was attributable to Argentina. Net sales for South America were $1,333.8 million, down 9% from $1,461.7 million.

In Asia Pacific in fiscal 2013, operating income increased to $97 million from $94.7 million but net sales fell 1% to $805.4 million from $815.8 million. In Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA), operating income fell to $73.8 million from $78.5 million while net sales increased 6% to $542.2 million from $512.9 million.

Ingredion projected full-year 2014 earnings per share to be in a range of $5.35 to $5.75.

“The guidance anticipates ongoing cost pressures and currency headwinds in Argentina; a challenging environment as sugar prices remain low; and, an effective tax rate of 27% to 28%,” Ingredion said. “All four regions are expected to deliver increased operating income. However, as a result of lower input costs, sales are expected to drop significantly for the total company.”

Cash generated by operations is expected to be approximately $700 million to $750 million in 2014 while capital expenditures are expected to be approximately $300 million to $350 million.
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