ADM net income solidly higher, excluding 2007 gain

by Josh Sosland
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DECATUR, ILL. — Net income of Archer Daniels Midland Co. in the year ended June 30 was $1,802 million, equal to $2.79 per share on the common stock, down 17% from $2,162 million, or $3.30. Sales were $69,816 million, up 59%.

Fiscal 2007 results included net gains totaling $665 million on asset sales, mostly in the fourth quarter.

Fiscal 2008 was described as "an outstanding year" by Patricia Woertz, chairman and chief executive officer.

The year was "highlighted by record segment operating profit," she said. "ADM met the needs of food, feed, fuel and industrial customers even as strong demand for crops and commodities challenged the global supply chain."

Operating profit of the Oilseeds Processing Division was $1,040 million and $375 million in fiscal 2008 and the fourth quarter, respectively, down 9% and 37%, respectively, from the comparable periods in fiscal 2007.

ADM said global crushing margins improved in fiscal 2008, and the decline was largest due to a $440 million gain in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007.

Corn Processing operating profit was $961 million and $262 million in fiscal 2008 and the fourth quarter, respectively, down 13% and up 14%, respectively, from the same periods in fiscal 2007.

"Average selling prices for sweeteners and starches increased for both the quarter and the 12 months while average ethanol priced decreased slightly," ADM said. "Ethanol sales volume increased for both the quarter and the 12 months due to good demand and improved gasoline blending economics."

ADM said net corn costs were about unchanged from last year in the fourth quarter but were higher for the year.

In the Other Division, which includes flour milling and cocoa processing, operating profit was $423 million and $34 million in fiscal 2008 and the year’s fourth quarter, respectively, up 12% and down 60%.

In the fourth quarter, results for wheat and cocoa declined principally because of "lower equity earnings of affiliates and decreased cocoa processing margins," ADM said. Malt margins were better.

Operating profit of the Agricultural Services Division was $1,017 million and $106 million in the fiscal year and the fourth quarter, respectively, up 89% and down 57%.

The fourth-quarter decline was largely due to a $153 million gain in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 from the sale of the company’s interest in Agricore United. For the year, results were up largely because of "enhanced merchandising and handling margins caused by the highly volatile grain markets and favorable risk management results partially offset by higher operating costs," ADM said, adding the gains for the year were reduced by the Agricore sale.

In the fourth quarter, ADM net income was $372 million, or 58c per share, down 61% from $955 million, or $1.47. Sales were $21,784 million, up 79%.

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