ConAgra says Ardent Mills profits down in quarter

by Josh Sosland
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Ardent Mills earnings in fiscal 2016 were $142.59 million, versus $173.5 million the year before.

OMAHA, NEB. — Equity method investment earnings at ConAgra Foods, Inc. fell 36% in the first quarter ended Aug. 28, largely because of weaker profits at Ardent Mills L.L.C.

A brief reference to the Ardent Mills results was included in the ConAgra Form 10-Q filed Oct. 4 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

ConAgra Foods and Cargill each own 44% of Ardent Mills, the largest milling company in the United States, with CHS the owner of the remaining 12%. ConAgra Foods continues to report as part of its continuing operations its share of Ardent Mills sales and earnings.

“Equity method investment earnings were $23.6 million and $37 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2017 and 2016, respectively,” ConAgra Foods said. “The decrease is largely reflective of lower profits from the Ardent Mills joint venture due to unfavorable wheat market conditions.”

Also included in the ConAgra Foods equity method investment earnings are results from potato joint ventures and other investments.

While the quarterly earnings between the businesses are not broken out, Ardent Mills earnings in fiscal 2016 (year ended May 29) were $142.59 million, versus $173.5 million the year before (the fiscal 2015 results were based on about 11 months of operations). Potato joint venture earnings were $101.3 million and $99.8 million, respectively in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2015. Other earnings were $6.4 million in fiscal 2016 and $6.1 million in fiscal 2015. 
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