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Corn down, oilseeds up for ADM in Q1

Corn down, oilseeds up for ADM in Q1
New WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients business got off to a great start toward achieving cost and revenue synergies in Q1.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2015.

The company reported adjusted earnings per share1 of $0.77, up from $0.55 in the same period last year. Adjusted segment operating profit1 was $883 million, up 12 percent from $789 million in the year-ago period. Net earnings for the quarter were $493 million, or $0.77 per share, and segment operating profit1 was $855 million.

“In the first quarter, the ADM team demonstrated their ability to leverage the strengths of our diversified business model,” said ADM Chief Executive Officer Juan Luciano. “The Oilseeds team capitalized on favorable market conditions and delivered outstanding results, with strong performances in each region. In Ag Services, our recently created global trade desk (GTD) platform drove higher merchandised volumes. Our new WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients business got off to a great start toward achieving the cost and revenue synergies we identified last year. Together, these performances helped deliver a good quarter overall, even as lower industry ethanol margins limited earnings in Corn, and the strong dollar limited U.S. grain exports.

“We have continued to advance the strategic plan we shared at our December investor day. In the area of optimizing the core, we announced the acquisition of a Belgian oil bottling business, helping us reach a wider customer base and creating a new output for our European crushing assets. And the WFSI team has been working with customers as they developed and launched new products using SCI, WILD and ADM ingredients. We had more than 200 joint customer engagements, building a pipeline of more than 400 projects, resulting already in more than 30 revenue synergy wins, across a number of regions and business units in Q1 alone. In the area of driving operational efficiencies, we have already identified more than $200 million in run-rate savings opportunities, toward our goal of $550 million in five years. And, in the area of strategic expansion, the corn processing business expanded in high-growth geographies, with the acquisition of the remaining stake of corn wet mills in Bulgaria and Turkey, and an increased stake in a facility in Hungary.”

First quarter 2015 highlights:

  • Adjusted EPS of $0.77 is consistent with the reported EPS.
  • Agricultural Services increased $52 million as improved U.S. and global grain merchandising results were partially offset by limited U.S. export competitiveness.
  • Corn Processing decreased $124 million on lower ethanol production volumes and weaker industry margins.
  • Oilseeds Processing increased $153 million with record soybean crushing volumes in Europe and North America and improved grain origination in South America.
  • Wild Flavors and Specialty Ingredients earned $68 million in the first reporting period for this business unit.
  • Trailing four-quarter-average adjusted ROIC was 9.5 percent, up 250 basis points year over year and 290 basis points above annual WACC of 6.6 percent.
  • During the first quarter, the company returned $0.7 billion to shareholders through dividends and the repurchase of 12 million shares.

Agricultural Services results improve on grain merchandising
Agricultural Services operating profit was $194 million, up $52 million from the year-ago period.

Merchandising and handling earnings improved $38 million to $107 million. ADM's new global trade desk (GTD) merchandising platform saw increased volumes and margins. In North America, volumes and margins improved, despite a very active fourth quarter, the start of the South American harvest and the impact of a strong dollar on U.S. export competitiveness.

Transportation results were essentially flat, with increased demand for northbound U.S. barge freight mostly offsetting decreased southbound demand due to lower exports from the Gulf.

Milling and other results improved $15 million to $55 million, due primarily to strong margins for flour, grain and feed.

Corn Processing results decline on lower ethanol margins
Corn Processing operating profit decreased from $251 million to $127 million.

Sweeteners and starches results declined $10 million to $85 million with increased North American volumes offset by lower contributions from coproducts, reduced equity earnings from joint-ventures, and startup costs related to the Tianjin sweetener facility.

Bioproducts results declined from $156 million to $42 million due to lower ethanol production volumes amid weaker industry margins. Supply/demand imbalances challenged industry ethanol margins most of the quarter, though conditions and margins have been improving since late March.

Oilseeds earnings excellent with record global soybean crushing results
Oilseeds operating profit of $483 million increased $153 million from strong year-ago results.

Crushing and origination operating profit increased $173 million to $334 million. Soybean crushing results for the quarter were the strongest ever, with record volumes in Europe and North America and strong margins globally, driven by strong U.S. and global meal demand. Improved farmer selling helped support a significant improvement in South American origination results.

Refining, packaging, biodiesel and other generated a profit of $52 million for the quarter, down $33 million. Improved biodiesel results in South America—from the enactment of increased blending standards in Brazil—were offset by lower margins in North America and weaker demand in Europe.

Oilseeds results in Asia for the quarter improved from the year-ago period, primarily driven by stronger Wilmar results.

Wild Flavors and Specialty Ingredients first reporting quarter
During the fourth quarter of 2014, ADM closed on the acquisitions of WILD Flavors GmbH and Specialty Commodities Inc. Starting with the first quarter of 2015, ADM has created a new business segment—Wild Flavors and Specialty Ingredients—which includes the results of these two businesses as well as ADM’s legacy specialty ingredients businesses.

In the first quarter, WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients operating profit was $68 million. Globally, the WILD Flavors business is off to a great start towards achieving the cost and revenue synergies that were identified last year. There have been more than 200 joint customer engagements, more than 400 projects in the pipeline and 30 revenue synergy wins across the business units and geographies.


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