Basis losses, ethanol pressure Andersons profits

by Josh Sosland
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MAUMEE, OHIO — Net income of The Andersons in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 was $1,394,000, equal to 8c per share on the common stock, up 12% from $1,250,000, or 7c per share, in the third quarter last year. Sales were $706,825,000, up 18%.

The Grain & Ethanol Group’s operating income in the quarter was $2.5 million, down 72% from the third quarter last year. While benefiting from higher gross profits on grain sales associated with the earlier timing of the harvest, the division earned much less space income because of basis losses, the company said.

The Anderson’s ethanol business suffered a loss during the quarter.

“The company had previously, based on its view of the ethanol market at the time, contracted for ethanol sales at minimal margins,” the company said. “The ethanol results were also impacted by rising prices of certain inputs and higher-than-anticipated maintenance and repair costs.”

Also pressuring results for the division, albeit slightly, was reduced income from an investment in Lansing Trade Group.

Other Andersons divisions performed better than last year, with the Plant Nutrient Group earning $1.5 million during the third quarter (versus an operating loss of $2.8 million during the third quarter last year); the Rail Group operating profit was $100,000 (versus a loss of $1.1 million); Turf and & Specialty Group, loss of $300,000 ($300,000 in 2009); Retail Group, loss of $1.7 million (loss of $2.3 million).

“We had mixed results this quarter,” said Mike Anderson, chairman and chief executive officer. “We were pleased with the performance of the Plant Nutrient Group, which typically has little to no income during the third quarter. The increase in railcar lease renewals at the end of the quarter and the resulting increase in the utilization rate were encouraging to see.

“Conversely, our Grain & Ethanol Group’s results for the quarter were lower due primarily to the decreased performance of our ethanol business. Our grain business was impacted by a decline in wheat basis, which we expect to be regained through the balance of the wheat crop year. As it relates to our results through September, the Grain & Ethanol Group had record results of $42.8 million, and our Plant Nutrient Group is having their second best year, surpassed only by the unprecedented earnings seen in 2008.”

Net income in the nine months ended Sept. 30 were $38,828,000, or $2.11 per share, up 76% from $22,210,000, or $1.21. Sales were $2,239,822,000, up 6%.

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