Woertz: ADM taking actions to boost earnings power

by Eric Schroeder
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BOCA RATON, FLA. — Patricia Woertz, chairman and chief executive officer of Archer Daniels Midland Co., outlined the actions the Decatur, Ill.-based company is taking to boost earnings power and drive future earnings growth as part of a Feb. 21 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton.

During her presentation, Ms. Woertz said ADM’s business strategies are designed to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the world’s growing, more prosperous population, particularly in Asia.

“To supply growing demand for agricultural products, the world will need more crops and global networks that can connect those crops with growing markets,” Ms. Woertz said. “ADM is expanding our operations and transportation network to meet those needs.”

She said the company is positioning for long-term growth and success by investing to build upon its proven core model.

“We have a great management team and a track record of excellent risk management,” she said. “With our strong balance sheet, we can grow our business to serve growing needs.”

ADM also is enhancing its collaboration with Wilmar International Ltd., Asia’s largest agribusiness. Juan Luciano, executive vice-president and chief operating officer, announced during the CAGNY presentation that ADM and Wilmar have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate in three areas: in the global fertilizer business, where the companies will collaborate by leveraging combined strength in origination and distribution; in ocean freight, where the companies will work together to improve the utilization and management of shipping fleets; and in tropical oil refining in Europe, where the companies will work together to optimize refining capacity utilization.

Mr. Luciano also discussed how ADM is driving improvements to grow profits.

“We continue our relentless pursuit of operational excellence, which will help grow our competitive advantage,” he said. “We have enhanced our capital allocation program, improving our analysis, strategic focus and process, resulting in a clear sense of how our investments — individually and in aggregate — will drive returns. We are managing our business portfolio, growing businesses that are seeing results, reevaluating businesses and operations that aren’t.”

Additionally, Ms. Woertz provided an update on the ongoing workforce reduction, noting that the company currently projects annual pre-tax savings from these measures and other targeted cost reductions to be more than $125 million. She said that, on the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call, ADM would further update the savings number and the charge related to the reorganization.

“ADM has a sound strategy, a strong balance sheet, a drive to improve, and a focus on delivering returns for our shareholders,” Ms. Woertz said.

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