ADM growth plans include Wild, Brazilian oilseeds

by Jeff Gelski
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CHICAGO — Growing sales in its new Wild Flavors and Specialty Ingredients business unit, expanding oilseeds processing in Brazil and saving costs through operational initiatives are some of the ways Archer Daniels Midland Co. expects to grow its business. The Chicago-based company outlined a strategy to grow returns and economic value added (E.V.A.) during an investors’ day Dec. 3.

ADM completed its acquisition of Wild Flavors GmbH on Oct. 1. Wild Flavors then became part of a new ADM business unit: Wild Flavors and Specialty Ingredients. ADM on Dec. 3 said it has a goal of growing sales in the business unit to $10 billion from $2.5 billion.

In oilseeds processing in Brazil, ADM plans to expand its origination network in the country’s northern frontier region, where soybean production is projected to continue growing at a 20% compound annual growth rate through 2017.

ADM said its corn processing business has just begun to expand its geographic footprint outside the United States. The sweeteners and starches group will continue to expand the range of higher-margin products it generates from raw material streams.

The agricultural services business unit plans to expand its crop origination volumes outside the United States and has a goal of doubling handling volumes worldwide. Research and development leaders said a range of operational and process improvement initiatives companywide should yield $350 million in incremental cost savings by 2019.

ADM will maintain a balanced approach to capital allocation, said Ray Young, senior vice-president and chief financial officer. The company will reinvest about 30% to 40% of future operating cash flows in value-generating capital projects while the remaining 60% to 70% will go to growth initiatives, including mergers and acquisitions and/or return of capital to shareholders. Mr. Young indicated dividend payout ratio ranges will increase to a medium-term range of 30% to 40% of earnings from the historic range of 20% to 25% of earnings.

“Over the past few years, we’ve been working to grow ADM’s earnings power and create greater value for our customers and our shareholders,” said Patricia Woertz, chairman and chief executive officer. “We’ve made significant progress toward operational excellence. We’ve developed and implemented an aggressive strategy for growth. We’ve put the company in a very strong position financially, and we have strengthened and developed the organization. Today, our company is exceptionally well-positioned with an excellent team managing the business and strong trends supporting our continued growth.”
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