Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) released this week strong financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017. Earnings were 48 cents per share, unchanged from 2016, but on an adjusted basis, earnings were 57 cents per share, up from 41 cents per share during the same period in 2016.
“We continued to deliver on our strategic plan and capitalize on improving conditions in some markets to achieve strong 39% year-over-year earnings growth,” ADM chairman and chief executive officer Juan Luciano said. “Our actions in the first half of the year reflect ADM’s continuous efforts to create shareholder value. We are diversifying our capabilities and geographic reach through acquisitions and organic expansions. We are aggressively managing costs and capital and taking additional portfolio actions, and we are ahead of pace to meet our 2017 target of $225 million in run-rate savings.”
With these collective actions, the company expects to deliver solid year-over-year earnings growth and returns in 2017 and is poised to be an even stronger company in 2018.
Segment operating profit of $642 million for the quarter, which was down from $680 million in 2016, included charges of $26 million related to asset impairment, restructuring and settlement activities and a net pretax gain on the sale of assets and businesses of $8 million. Prior-year segment operating profit included asset impairment and restructuring charges of $10 million and a net pretax gain on the sale of assets and businesses of $118 million.
During the first half of 2017, ADM returned $875 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.
Results of operations
The Ag Services segment delivered its fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year increases in operating profits.
In merchandising and handling, North America grain results increased significantly over the prior year, with strong carries in wheat, corn and soybeans. Global trade generated solid results and was up from the year-ago quarter, benefiting from improved margins, favorable timing effects and actions to improve performance.
Transportation decreased from the prior-year period primarily due to river conditions and lower freight rates.
Milling & Other delivered solid results on steady margins and favorable merchandising.
Corn Processing results were up from the year-ago quarter. Higher volumes and improved margins in North American sweeteners and starches contributed to another strong performance. Bioproducts results increased over a weak prior year, with an improvement in ethanol margins.
Oilseeds Processing benefited from the diversity of its feedstocks, products and geographies; however, overall results were down compared to the second quarter of 2016. Weak margins in both the global soybean crush and South American origination affected crushing and origination results. Softseeds earnings were higher as a result of leveraging the business’s global flex capacity to capitalize on margin opportunities.
Refining, packaging, biodiesel and other had solid results in all regions, with South America refined and packaged oils and the global peanut business contributing to strong performance in the quarter. North America biodiesel results also improved over the prior-year quarter, which was affected by unfavorable timing effects.
Asia experienced another good quarter, growing significantly over the prior-year period due to both ADM’s increased ownership stake in, and strong results from, Wilmar.
WFSI results were in line with the prior-year quarter. WILD Flavors delivered double-digit operating profit growth with strong sales globally. Specialty Ingredients was down for the quarter.