WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Driven in part by a strong fourth quarter, full-year earnings at Bunge Ltd. also finished sharply higher. Net income in the year ended Dec. 31, 2010, was $2,354 million, up from $361 million in fiscal 2009. Net sales for the year also finished higher, rising 9% to $45,707 million from $41,926 million.
For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2010, net income was $301 million, up from $11 million in the same period a year ago. Net sales in the fourth quarter rose 22% to $12,726 million.
“Bunge had a strong finish to the year,” said Alberto Weisser, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our team managed volatile markets well and our global asset network enabled us to be responsive to customers in the face of supply disruptions.
“Solid results in Agribusiness and Food and Ingredients were offset somewhat by difficulties in Sugar & Bioenergy. Lower milling volumes from reduced sugarcane yields due to dry weather in Brazil, as well as challenges related to the start-up of some mills, contributed to significantly lower than expected results in this segment during the period.”
Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) in the Agribusiness segment totaled $840 million in fiscal 2010, up 3% from fiscal 2009. Net sales, meanwhile, rose 8% to $30,138 million.
EBIT also was higher for the year in the company’s Milling Products unit, climbing 16% to $67 million. Net sales in the segment totaled $1,605 million, up 5% from $1,527 million.
The Fertilizer segment recovered from a loss of $616 million in fiscal 2009 to post EBIT of $2,344 million in fiscal 2010. The recovery came despite a 26% decrease in sales during the year.
Edible Oil Products, which posted EBIT of $181 million in fiscal 2009, fell 56% to $80 million. Sales in the segment remained strong, though, rising 10% to $6,783 million from $6,184 million.
A difficult fourth quarter weighed on the Sugar & Bioenergy business, which suffered a loss of $13 million after posting EBIT of $8 million in fiscal 2009. But net sales in the segment soared, climbing to $4,455 million from $2,577 million in fiscal 2009.
“We enter 2011 with good momentum,” Mr. Weisser said. “During the year we will strengthen our core business by inaugurating new soy processing facilities in Vietnam and China, and our export grain terminal in the Pacific Northwest will come on line in time for the U.S. harvest. We are also expanding our grain elevator network in the U.S. to better serve domestic and international trade flows. During this past year we’ve made great progress in building a solid foundation for our global sugar platform, a growth business in which we have excellent assets and strong expansion capability.
“As we look ahead, high prices are giving farmers clear incentive to produce larger crops, which are needed to help build global stocks. In the interim, market volatility and concern over high food prices will likely persist. At these times, the services that Bunge provides, which facilitate global trade and improve the efficiency of the food production chain, are more valuable than ever.”