CHICAGO — “Sustainability is a driving force both of our purpose and our growth strategy,” said Juan R. Luciano chairman, chief executive officer and president of ADM, in an Oct. 25 conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s third-quarter financial performance.
“And one great example is the scaling up of our regenerative agricultural efforts,” he said. “Regen ag practices include cover cropping, improved nutrient management and conservation tillage ... With global scale and a value chain that reaches from 220,000 farmers to customers ranging from multinational CPGs to startups, ADM has a unique opportunity to lead in this area.”
Last month ADM announced a 7 ½-year strategic commercial agreement to collaborate with PepsiCo, Inc. on regenerative agriculture projects across the two companies’ shared North American supply chains.
“We’re working with other partners as well,” Mr. Luciano said. “For example, in the spring, we announced an agreement with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that includes a commitment of $20 million to sign up more regen ag acres. And we’re partnering with Farmers Business Network to make their gradable farm management platform available as the regen ag technology enabler for our North American farmer base. We’ve signed about 750,000 unique regen ag acres in the US so far this year. We expect this number to grow with every passing year.”
Net earnings attributable to ADM in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 totaled $1.03 billion, equal to $1.83 per share on the common stock, nearly double the earnings of $526 million, or 93¢ per share, in the same period a year ago. Earnings per share included a 7¢ per share charge related primarily to impairments and restructuring; a 4¢ per share gain related to the sale of certain assets; a 1¢ per share gain related to the mark-to-market adjustment on the Wilmar exchangeable bond; and a 1¢ per share tax expense related to certain discrete items. Adjusted earnings totaled $1.05 billion, or $1.86 per share, up from $548 million, or 97¢ per share, in 2021.
Revenues for the third quarter increased 21% to $24.68 billion from $20.34 billion.
Operating profit in the Ag Services and Oilseeds segment rose 75% to $1.08 billion in the third quarter, up from $618 million in the same year-ago quarter. Ag Services profit surged over 700% in the quarter to $292 million, up from $36 million, while crushing profit increased 24% to $346 million from $280 million.
According to ADM, Ag Service profit rose on short crops in South America, supporting US exports and driving higher volumes and margins in North American origination, which experienced significant negative impacts from Hurricane Ida in the prior year. Better margins in global ocean freight also powered better results in global trade, the company said.
Operating profit in the Carbohydrate Solutions segment increased 45% in the third quarter to $309 million from $213 million a year ago. Starches and sweeteners profit climbed 84% in the quarter to $327 million from $178 million. Vantage Corn Processors posted a loss of $18 million in the quarter, compared with a profit of $35 million in the year-ago quarter.
Steady global demand drove results in the Starches and Sweeteners subsegment, which includes ethanol production from wet mills, ADM said. Demand for corn co-products, including corn oil, helped the company execute higher margins in North America. Wheat milling delivered improved volumes and margins to meet healthy demand for flour. Performance of Vantage Corn Processors was negatively impacted by ethanol margins, which were pressured by lower domestic demand and elevated corn costs. In addition, the prior-year’s results included contributions from the now-sold Peoria facility.
In the Nutrition segment operating profit in the third quarter was $177 million, nearly unchanged from $176 million in 2021. Within the segment, human nutrition profit increased 5% to $146 million from $139 million in the year-ago quarter, animal nutrition dipped to $31 million from $37 million.
“Both sustainability and food security are powering our growth in nutrition, including our continued investment in alternative proteins,” Mr. Luciano said. “In Q3, we advanced several alternative protein enhancements and expansions, including an agreement with Benson Hill for the exclusive rights to process socialize a portfolio of proprietary ingredients derived from their ultra-high protein soybeans. Each of these investments is aligned with global trends, and each demonstrates how we are advancing new avenues of growth across all three of our business segments.”
Strong demand for plant-based proteins, as well as solid performance in texturants, drove gains in human nutrition, ADM said. Health and Wellness was lower versus the prior year, which included higher income from the Spiber fermentation agreement. Pet results were lower in Latin America on lower volumes, partially offset by strong volumes and margins in North America. Softer animal protein demand also affected feed volumes, the company said.