NEW YORK — Credit Suisse has lowered its target price on two ag businesses and maintained its price on a third following recent analysis and meetings with management at the companies.
Credit Suisse said it has lowered its target price on White Plains, N.Y.-based Bunge Ltd. to $85, but has raised its rating to “outperform.”
“We believe that investors with a short-term horizon can buy the stock heading into the 3Q results,” Credit Suisse noted in a Sept. 29 research report. “Bunge and several other agribusiness stocks have fallen significantly in recent few weeks due to concerns about the impact of a weaker Brazilian real on Brazilian agribusiness conditions. But unlike its agribusiness peers, the weaker currency represents a net positive for Bunge in the region. We continue to harbor concerns about the volatility of the business and its ability to achieve its long-term targets, but we think the dislocation in the stock presents an interesting near-term opportunity.”
The research analyst said Bunge’s food and ingredients business likely will feel a negative impact, as the weak Brazilian economy has caused Brazilian consumers to trade down to lower value edible oil products and has compromised the company’s ability to price through the higher cost of imported wheat into Brazil. In addition, the falling Mexican peso has hurt the translation of Mexican wheat milling results, Credit Suisse said.
The target price also was lowered at Archer Daniels Midland Co., Chicago, to $47. Credit Suisse also lowered its 2015 and 2016 earnings-per-share estimates for ADM to $3.06 and $3.35 to account for persistently weak conditions in ethanol and near-term challenges for agribusiness in 2015.
“While our target price represents a fair degree of upside to the shares over the next 12 months, we believe there is some additional near-term risk from downward revisions to estimates following 3Q results,” Credit Suisse said. The research analyst said ethanol results are likely to remain depressed through 2016, while agribusiness results are expected to be weak in the third quarter.
“We expect the strong U.S. dollar and the timing of the crop cycle to hurt ADM’s exports and origination results in 3Q,” Credit Suisse noted. “Brazil has capitalized on its devalued currency by capturing a stronger share of global trade. ADM and the U.S. will have the grain to compete with Brazil in 4Q once the crop comes in, but this division will still face a tough comparison to last year's phenomenal 4Q results.”
Credit Suisse noted it could be wrong if agribusiness results rebound strongly in the fourth quarter as U.S. farmers commercialize their crops and falling ethanol inventories may help tighten the pricing environment.
Finally, the research analyst maintained its $94 target price on Ingredion Inc., Westchester, Ill., citing the fact North American high-fructose corn syrup pricing may be headed higher.
“Annual U.S. sweetener negotiations look to have been completed earlier than usual and at some very favorable prices, as good demand and tighter capacities encourage early bookings,” Credit Suisse noted in its report. “Despite very little cost inflation, prices look to be up about 15% and even tolling rates are moving up. We estimate a $40 million benefit to North American profits in 2016.”
Meanwhile, Credit Suisse said it sees Penford poised for revenue synergies.“Management said it is on track to achieve its $20 million cost synergy target from the Penford acquisition with $10 million in 2015 and $10 million in 2016,” Credit Suisse said. “The company also has an untapped opportunity to grow Penford’s customer base now that it operates as part of a bigger platform of corn wet mills rather than just a one-plant operation. The Kerr acquisition represents a strong contribution to the company’s value-added capabilities.”