‘Positive overall momentum’ spurs growth at Ingredion

by Eric Schroeder
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WESTCHESTER, ILL. — Volume gains across all its regions propelled second-quarter earnings at Ingredion Inc. Net income at Ingredion in the quarter ended June 30 totaled $102.6 million, equal to $1.37 per share on the common stock, up 8% from $95.1 million, or $1.22 per share, in the same period a year ago.

Net sales during the second quarter of fiscal 2014 totaled $1,482.7 million, down 9% from $1,633.4 million.

“We feel good about having delivered a strong quarter that reflects the positive overall momentum we see in our business,” Ilene Gordon, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said during a July 30 conference call with analysts. “After the severe weather challenges of the first quarter, we are back on a more normalized pace.

“The results were good almost across the board. Volumes rose in each region during the quarter and for the first half, for that matter, reflecting good organic growth and strong product offerings. This growth translated into a 16% increase in operating income. North America, Asia-Pacific, and EMEA delivered strong growth that was slightly offset by a small decline in South America.

“Earnings per share also rebounded nicely and were up 13%, driven by the strong operating income growth and the impact of last year's share repurchases, but offset by a higher tax rate compared to the year-ago quarter. And our cash from operations more than doubled compared to the first six months of last year. This keeps us in a good position to continue to deploy capital in shareholder-friendly ways.”

Ms. Gordon announced Ingredion has entered into an accelerated share repurchase agreement. Under terms of the transaction, Ingredion has agreed to repurchase $300 million of its common stock from JPMorgan Chase Bank, with an initial delivery of approximately 3.1 million shares.

“This serves two purposes,” Ms. Gordon said. “First, we believe it is appropriate to return additional cash to shareholders even as we continue to look for strategic acquisitions. These actions support our strategy to deploy cash in shareholder friendly ways. Second, we will benefit from the e.p.s. accretion this year and next.”

Operating income in the company’s North America segment increased 6% in the second quarter of fiscal 2014 to $110.4 million from $103.9 million in the same period a year ago, driven by strength in Mexico and Canada. Net sales decreased 16% to $819.5 million from $976.8 million.

In South America, operating income was $16.4 million, down 5% from $17.3 million. Stronger results in Brazil and Colombia were more than offset by continuing challenges in Argentina, Ingredion said. Net sales also were lower, falling 5% to $304.8 million from $320.8 million.

Operating income in Asia Pacific climbed 17% to $27.5 million from $23.6 million on a 1% increase in sales to $203.2 million from $200.2 million.

In Europe, Middle East, Africa, operating income was $25.3 million, up 50% from $16.9 million a year ago. Net sales totaled $155.2 million, up 14% from $135.6 million in the same period of fiscal 2013.

For the six months ended June 30, overall net income was $175.2 million, or $2.34 per share, down 15% from $205.8 million, or $2.65 per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales were $2,839.8 million, down 12% from $3,217.3 million.

Capital expenditures in 2014 now are expected to be about $300 million and will be used to support growth and cost reduction actions across the company.

Annual earnings per share guidance was narrowed to $5.40 to $5.70. The previous guidance projected earnings of $5.35 to $5.75 per share in 2014.
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