Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) reported this week that its financial results for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2017, were lower than anticipated as a result of bulging global grain supplies and restructuring actions.
“Our third-quarter results were below our expectations, as the operating environment in our Ag Services and Oilseeds businesses was more challenging than anticipated,” ADM chairman and chief executive officer Juan Luciano said. “Through the quarter, we took several actions to be even more competitive in the future, including: restructuring our global workforce, reconfiguring the Peoria (Ill.) ethanol complex, working to complete several operational start-ups, driving additional asset monetizations and further reducing costs through our Project Readiness initiative."
Moving into the fourth quarter, Luciano said the company is starting to transition from a period of costs and investment in acquisitions, new innovation centers and new facilities to a period of lower capital spending and increasing benefits from these investments.
Earnings per share (EPS) were 34 cents, which included: a charge of 12 cents per share related to asset impairments and restructuring activities, a net gain of 2 cents per share on the sale of assets and businesses and a loss of 1 cent per share on debt extinguishment. Adjusted EPS, which excludes these items, was 45 cents, down from 59 cents during the same period in 2016.
Segment operating profit of $485 million for the quarter includes charges of $63 million for asset impairment and restructuring charges -- primarily related to the Peoria ethanol complex reconfiguration -- and a net gain of $12 million on the sale of assets and businesses. Adjusted segment operating profit was $541 million, down from $650 million in the third quarter of 2016.
Looking ahead to 2018, ADM expects much of the same, saying it will reduce capital spending by about 20% to $800 million. Luciano told analysts on a conference call that the company will also reallocate funds to its high-value business from oilseed crushing. “We are not counting on a significant change in conditions for 2018,” he said.
Results of operations
Ag Services reported a profit of $87 million, down from $195 million in 2016.
In merchandising and handling, results decreased in both North American grain and global trade, largely due to the lack of competitiveness of U.S. corn and soybeans in global markets, ADM said.
Transportation results decreased from the prior-year period due to reduced U.S. grain exports and a slower start to the North American harvest.
Milling & Other earnings were down due to decreased volumes mainly in the U.S, while product margins remained steady.
ADM reported that Corn Processing results were up year over year, delivering another strong quarter. North American sweeteners and starches experienced good margins. Bioproducts results increased, with better ethanol margins compared to the prior-year period.
Oilseeds Processing results were $119 million, down from $145 in the third quarter of last year. Crushing and origination results were affected by compressed global crush margins and weak South American origination margins.
Refining, packaging, biodiesel and other experienced lower earnings versus the third quarter of 2016 primarily due to weaker biodiesel results caused by lower margins and negative market-to-market impacts.
Results in Asia were up versus the prior-year period, while Wilmar results were lower than anticipated but still higher than last year’s.
WFSI results were down versus the prior-year quarter. However, WILD Flavors delivered double-digit operating profit growth, with strong sales in Asia and the Europe/Middle East/Africa region. Specialty Ingredients results were down for the quarter due, in part, to higher costs caused by operational start-ups in certain businesses.