May 27, 2024

Archer Daniels Midland’s Quarterly Profits Exceed Expectations

The company, one of the world’s top grain traders, said it turned in a “mixed” performance in its fiscal first quarter as oilseeds were strong, margins shrank in its ethanol business and the agricultural services business faced the worst American drought in half a century.

There are signs that the scramble for grains after the drought may be aiding a recovery by Archer and its chief competitors from a period of dismal earnings, as companies with geographically diverse resources can acquire and deliver grain where it is needed.

The company, based in Illinois, reported net earnings of $182 million, or 28 cents a share, in its fiscal first quarter ending on Sept. 30, down from $460 million, or 68 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time charges, Archer’s earnings were 45 cents a share, exceeding analysts’ average estimate of 35 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.

Profit rose in the oilseeds processing unit but fell in the corn processing unit, as negative ethanol margins more than offset improved results from sweeteners and starches.

Revenue was flat at $21.81 billion, but topped analysts’ average estimate of $20.04 billion.

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Profit Rises 37% at Archer Daniels

The company posted earnings of $578 million, or 86 cents a share, compared with $421 million, or 65 cents a share, a year earlier. The performance met analysts’ expectations.

Revenue climbed 33 percent, to $20.08 billion, topping Wall Street expectations for $16.88 billion.

The health of Archer Daniels Midland provides a snapshot for agribusiness as a whole because it operates in almost every sector of the business as both a buyer and seller of commodities.

The company reported higher operating profit across its segments. Its corn processing unit includes its network of ethanol plants, while its agricultural services unit includes grain trading.

Archer Daniels does not break out its ethanol results but said its profit climbed $99 million, to $158 million, for its bioproducts division, which includes ethanol and food additives like lysine.

Operating profit in the agricultural services segment rose $6 million, to $171 million, amid volatile commodity markets, regional instability in the Middle East and Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.

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