ADM third-quarter profit jumps on higher US grain exports; stock rises

Source: By Karl Plume, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2016

U.S. agricultural products trader Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N) on Tuesday reported a far better-than-expected third-quarter profit on Tuesday as higher U.S. exports of corn and soybeans boosted volumes and margins.

U.S. farmers have nearly completed what is expected to be the largest corn and soybean harvests on record, which should benefit ADM again in the current quarter.

“With improving market conditions and a large U.S. harvest, combined with the team’s solid execution capabilities, we feel good about the remainder of the year and a stronger 2017,” Chief Executive Officer Juan Luciano said in a statement.

ADM shares were up nearly 4 percent at $45.25 in premarket trading.

Chicago-based ADM makes money buying, selling, storing, transporting and processing grains and oilseeds around the world. Margins are typically thin, but volumes are massive when crop supplies are abundant and prices are low, as they are now.

Export sales of corn and soybeans from the United States were well ahead of the normal pace in the third quarter due to crop shortages in South America.

Net earnings attributable to the company rose to $341 million, or 58 cents per share, in the quarter, from $252 million, or 41 cents, a year earlier.

Revenue fell 4.4 percent to $15.83 billion.

Excluding items, ADM earned 59 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 46 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

ADM’s agricultural services unit, its largest in terms of revenue, gained from the shift in export demand to North America, with earnings totaling a net $195 million, up 31 percent from a year earlier.

Although ethanol earnings trailed a year ago, lower corn prices boosted results in corn processing. Adjusted profit in the segment jumped 30 percent to $214 million in the quarter.

ADM said it is expecting final proposals for a deal for its ethanol-producing corn dry mills by the end of 2016. The company is looking to sell or find a partner for the assets amid frustration over a persistent oversupply in the market that has thinned margins for making the biofuel.

Results in the oilseeds processing business were dragged down by weak soy processing margins, reduced South American crop supplies and a steep quarterly loss at Wilmar International Ltd (WLIL.SI). ADM owns about 23 percent of the Singapore-based vegetable oils processor.

(Additional reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr and Jeffrey Benkoe)