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Weather, Ethanol Industry Hamper ADM Earnings

CEO: First quarter proved more challenging than initially expected

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Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) has reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2019.

“The first quarter proved more challenging than initially expected,” says Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano. “Impacts from severe weather in North America were on the high side of our initial estimates, and the ethanol industry environment limited margins and opportunities.

“Despite a challenging start to the year, we continue to make excellent progress on our key imperatives for 2019: improving performance in certain businesses, accelerating our Readiness efforts, and delivering results from our growth investments,” Luciano continues. “We are very encouraged with our new Neovia business and the creation of a global Animal Nutrition platform. Readiness continues to expand our efforts to enhance our competitiveness. And additional actions we are announcing today will help us advance our goals to deliver best-in-class customer service along with long-term growth and shareholder value.

“With three quarters of the year still ahead of us, the continued advancement of our strategy, combined with an anticipated resolution of the U.S.-China trade situation and an expected acceleration of soybean meal demand driven by African Swine Fever, make us optimistic for the second half. Taking all of these factors into account, we remain committed to continuing to pull the levers under our control to deliver our objective of full-year earnings comparable to or higher than 2018.”

As part of that commitment, the company is announcing a series of measures to continue to underpin long-term-value creation:

  • First, to meet growing customer demand, ADM plans to repurpose its corn wet mill in Marshall, MN, to produce higher volumes of food and industrial-grade starches as well as liquid feedstocks for food and industrial uses, phasing out production of high-fructose corn syrup at that facility as soon as committed deliveries are complete.
  • Second, the company is creating an ethanol subsidiary, which will include ADM’s dry mills in Columbus, NE; Cedar Rapids, IA; and Peoria, IL. The ethanol subsidiary will report as an independent segment. The new structure will allow the company to advance strategic alternatives, which may include, but are not limited to, a potential spin-off of the business to existing ADM shareholders.
  • Finally, ADM has begun a series of actions to enhance agility, accelerate growth, and strengthen customer service. These actions include organizational changes to centralize and standardize business activities and processes, and enhance productivity and effectiveness; accelerating the capture of planned synergies after a period of acquisitions; and offering early retirement for some colleagues in the U.S. and Canada.
  • As a result of Readiness-based improvements in capital prioritization, project evaluation and project execution processes, and in keeping with the company’s commitment to returns, ADM also plans to reduce 2019 capital spending by 10 percent, to the range of $0.8 to $0.9 billion.

For the full report, click here.

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