Ingredion earnings rise on strength in North America

by Eric Schroeder
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Ilene Gordon, Ingredion
Ilene Gordon, president and c.e.o. of Ingredion, said the company's momentum "continues on a positive trajectory."

WESTCHESTER, ILL. — Ingredion, Inc. delivered another strong quarter of growth as net income in the second quarter ended June 30 increased 10% to $117.2 million, equal to $1.62 per share on the common stock, up from $106.7 million, or $1.49 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

For the first six months of the year Ingredion posted earnings of $247.7 million, or $3.44 per share, up 30% from $190.3 million, or $2.66 per share, in the same period a year ago.

“I am pleased with our results this quarter,” Ilene Gordon, president and chief executive officer, said during a July 28 conference call with analysts. “From a strategic perspective our business model and blueprint for growth are working and our momentum continues on a positive trajectory.

“I am also pleased that our global footprint and our innovation capabilities with our 25 Ingredion Idea Labs allow us to meet the needs of our customers who demand on-trend products customized to local tastes. We continue to take actions to optimize our cost structure for the future while investing for growth in our specialty business.

“Regionally, North America is expected to continue its positive trajectory. Asia-Pacific and EMEA are projecting operating income growth and South America is expected to be down versus last year given the macroeconomic headwinds. With our strong balance sheet we expect to continue deploying our capital to fuel organic growth, network optimization, acquisitions and other shareholder friendly action.”

Overall net sales at Ingredion were up narrowly in the second quarter to $1,455.3 million as a result of improved price/mix in North America and South America and a more favorable product mix in both specialty and core ingredients. These factors were offset predominantly by changes in foreign currency exchange rates and organic volume declines attributable to the sale of the company’s Port Colborne, Canada, facility and macroeconomic headwinds in South America. Year-to-date net sales were up 1% to $2,815.3 million.

Second quarter reported and adjusted operating income were $198 million and $211 million, respectively. These were 15% and 17% increases, respectively, compared with $173 million of reported operating income in the second quarter of 2015 and $180 million of adjusted operating income.

Year-to-date 2016 reported and adjusted operating income were $398 million and $412 million, respectively. These were 28% and 22% increases, respectively, compared to $312 million of year-to-date 2015 reported operating income and $337 million of year-to-date 2015 adjusted operating income.

North America’s second quarter operating income increased to $160 million from $127 million. Better price/product mix in specialty and core ingredients, cost synergies related to Ingredion’s acquisition of Penford, as well as operational efficiencies driven by network optimization efforts accounted for the increase, the company said.

“I do think that in the North American consumer environment the drive has increased for these healthier ingredients by millennials and all parts of the population,” Ms. Gordon said. “And so we are very well positioned with our R.&D. and product development to develop those particular solutions.

“I think what you find in a mature economy, the ability to grow in the specialty products is increasing. I mean, even the desire for non-G.M.O. products is increasing. And so, we are one of the few companies that is able to supply those types of ingredients. We have been supplying non-G.M.O. type starches for over 10 years.”

Asked later in the call to expand on the G.M.O. labeling law that is in the works, Ms. Gordon said the law likely will help Ingredion’s customers, particularly on the supply chain and packaging side.

“I think certainly we just supply what our customers want and don’t particularly have a view on whether labeling is good or bad so to speak,” she said. “But we are there to supply what our customers want. And I think that the certainty for the consumer helps our customers and in terms of their supply chain.”

South America’s operating income in the second quarter was $14 million, down $6 million from a year ago. The decline primarily reflected lower volumes in the Southern Cone driven by macroeconomic headwinds, and higher costs for corn and other inputs.

Operating profit in Asia Pacific during the second quarter totaled $30 million, up $2 million from a year ago. The increase reflected volume growth and margin expansion that partially was offset by foreign exchange impacts.

Europe, Middle East and Africa’s second-quarter operating income was $29 million, up $6 million from a year ago. Higher volumes and margin expansion more than offset foreign-exchange impacts.

Ingredion said its 2016 adjusted earnings per share is expected to be in the range of $6.70 to $6.90, which compared with adjusted e.p.s. of $5.88 in 2015. The company said the guidance assumes overall improvement in North America, Asia Pacific and EMEA, and South America down slightly given the macroeconomic environment; an effective tax rate of 30% to 32%; and continued trade up in the company’s portfolio.

In 2016, cash generated by operations is expected to be approximately $725 million to $775 million and $300 million, and capital expenditures are expected to be $300 million, Ingredion said. 
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