CHICAGO — A streak of strong quarterly results continued for Ardent Mills LLC in the most recent fiscal quarter, according to a filing by Conagra Brands, Inc., a 44% shareholder of the milling business.
Equity method investment earnings of Conagra were $49.2 million in the first quarter ended Aug. 28, according to a Form 10-Q filed Oct. 6 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The earnings were up 144% from $20.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2022. In the same period of fiscal 2021, Conagra’s equity method investment earnings were $6.5 million.
The latest quarter was the seventh straight of strong earnings growth for Ardent Mills.
In addition to crediting “favorable market conditions,” Conagra’s standard verbiage when Ardent Mills achieves favorable results, the SEC filing also cited “the joint venture’s effective management through the recent volatility in the wheat markets.”
In a call with investment analysts Oct. 6, David S. Marberger, Conagra’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the Ardent Mills investment “continues to operate as an effective inflation hedge” for Conagra and again credited “strong management” for good results. He said Ardent Mills contributed to adjusted EBITDA growth of 9.1% at Conagra during the company’s first quarter.Conagra Brands 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 Brands continues to report as part of its continuing operations its share of Ardent Mills earnings.