CHS earnings again double in quarter

by Eric Schroeder
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ST. PAUL, MINN. — Net income at CHS Inc. doubled in the second quarter ended Feb. 29, climbing to $168,031,000 from $83,673,000 in the second quarter of fiscal 2007.

Revenues for the period also soared, jumping 84% to $6,891,345,000 from $3,734,580,000 in the same period a year ago. Improved sales were attributed to record prices for the grain, refined fuels and crop nutrients products that CHS markets.

The company’s Ag Business segment, which consists of CHS’s agronomy, grain marketing and retail operations, posted operating earnings of $118,005,000 on sales of $4,273,984,000, up sharply from $18,332,000 and $1,883,836,000, respectively, in the second quarter of fiscal 2007.

"Strong demand and increased volumes for grain and oilseed products, much of it driven by increased U.S. ethanol production, contributed to improved performance by both our grain marketing and country operations business," CHS said. "Our grain marketing operations improved earnings by $87.7 million during the three months ended Feb. 29, 2008, compared with the same three-month period in fiscal 2007, primarily from increased grain volumes, greater margins on those grains, and strong earning performances from our joint ventures."

Earnings also were up significantly in CHS Processing operations, which include its oilseed processing, wheat milling, food production and renewable fuels operations. Operating earnings in the second quarter were $9,886,000, up from $6,316,000, while sales rose 63% to $290,049,000.

CHS said earnings from oilseed processing operations increased $3 million during the second quarter behind improved margins in crushing operations, while earnings from wheat milling joint ventures posted improved earnings of $11.7 million.

Energy earnings decreased from a year ago, falling to $52,580,000 from $61,982,000. Sales, meanwhile, rose 40% to $2,399,044,000.

For the six months ended Feb. 29, overall net income at CHS totaled $468,931,000, up 113% from $220,052,000 in the same period a year ago. Sales were $13,416,731,000, up 79% from $7,485,650,000.

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