Earnings Round-Up: ADM, Green Plains, Syngenta

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Jim Lane

Green Plains

In Nebraska, Green Plains (GPRE) announced net income for the quarter was $42.2 million compared to net income of $25.5 million for the same period in 2013. Revenues were $829.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to $712.9 million for the same period in 2013.

Net income for the full year was $159.5 million compared to $43.4 million for the same period in 2013. Revenues were $3.2 billion for the full year of 2014 compared to $3.0 billion for the same period in 2013. Fourth quarter 2014 EBITDA was $90.7 million compared to $63.9 million for the same period in 2013. For the year ended December 31, 2014, EBITDA was $350.7 million compared to $156.6 million for the same period in 2013.

Green Plains had $455.3 million in total cash and equivalents and $187.5 million available under committed loan agreements at subsidiaries at December 31, 2014. Green Plains reduced term debt outstanding by $100.8 million and invested $85.4 million in capital expenditures and acquisitions during 2014.

During the fourth quarter, Green Plains ethanol production totaled 246.6 million gallons, or approximately 96% of its daily average production capacity. Non-ethanol operating income from the corn oil production, agribusiness, and marketing and distribution segments was $23.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to $28.2 million for the same period in 2013. Non-ethanol operating income for the year ended December 31, 2014 was $103.8 million compared to $80.9 million for the same period in 2013.

“We continue to focus on profitable growth opportunities within and adjacent to our value chain,” said CEO Todd Becker,. “This year gave us the opportunity to demonstrate the capability of the large diversified platform we have been building over the last 7 years. We produced a record 966 million gallons of ethanol, processed 10 million tons of corn, and earned over $100 million of non-ethanol operating income in 2014. We are also close to achieving our goal of zero net term debt.”

“U.S. ethanol margins have been volatile during the first part of this year. Demand for the product at these lower price levels remains robust, both domestically and internationally. We expect the industry will continue to adjust to lower energy prices and remain optimistic we will perform well over the coming year,” added Becker. “Green Plains just completed its sixth consecutive year of profitable operations, a testament to the resiliency of our people, our assets and our strategy.”

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In Illinois, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) reported net Q4 earnings of $701 million and segment operating profit of $1.26 billion.

After adjustments, Oilseeds operating profit of $395 million decreased $107 million from excellent year-ago results. Crushing and origination operating profit decreased $46 million to $206 million. Higher capacity utilization and improved margins helped drive record soybean crushing results in North America and very strong European crushing results. Results in South America were significantly lower, due to reduced crush margins, continued slow farmer selling, and weaker fertilizer results. Refining, packaging, biodiesel and other generated a profit of $99 million for the quarter, down $69 million. Overcapacity pressured margins in European biodiesel during the quarter, while year-ago North American biodiesel results benefited from a surge in demand ahead of the expiration of the U.S. blender’s credit.

“The Agricultural Services team executed well to capitalize on strong conditions, while international merchandising continued to show year-over-year recovery,” said ADM Chief Executive Officer Juan Luciano. “In North America and Europe, Oilseeds showed strong year-over-year growth, offset by weaker results in South America. Looking ahead in North America and Europe, solid crush margins and export opportunities have carried into the first quarter. Market conditions in South America Oilseeds should improve with the large harvest, and we are working toward higher returns throughout 2015 in this key geography. While U.S. ethanol demand was seasonally strong, boosted by the domestic response to lower gasoline prices, high industry production has built excess inventories. Margins in this industry should remain challenged until supplies are better aligned with demand. We will continue our work to optimize cost and product mix in the Corn business to maximize profitability.”

Bioproducts results increased from $134 million to $217 million, driven by favorable ethanol results. In addition, animal nutrition results improved on better margins and solid demand.

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In Switzerland, Syngenta AG (SYT) reported earnings per share of $19.42, up 0.6% from $19.30 reported in 2013. Sales in 2014 lifted 3% year over year to $15.1 billion. The company noted that, at a constant exchange rate, revenues increased 5% on the back of price and volume gains. EAME (Europe, Africa, the Middle East), Latin America and Asia Pacific witnessed a healthy performance with sales growing 11%, 7% and 5% year over year to $4,547 million, $4,279 million and $2,033 million, respectively, on a CER basis. Growth in sales, across all these markets, was driven by Syngenta’s new product innovations and market expansion programs. However, revenues slid 7% in North America to $3,582 million. The year-over-year decline was primarily attributable to low regional temperature and reduced sales of non-selective herbicides and corn.

As of Dec 31, 2014, Syngenta had cash and cash equivalents of $1,638 million compared with $902.0 million on Dec 31, 2013. Financial debt and other non-current liabilities were $1,329 million, down from $1,591 million on Dec 31, 2013. Syngenta generated cash flow from operating activities of $1931 million in 2014, compared with $1,214 million of cash generated in 2014. Capital expenditure stood at $600.0 million, down from $625.0 million incurred in 2013. During the reported period, Syngenta paid dividends totaling $921 million and repurchased shares worth $176 million.

CEO Mike Mack said “Syngenta reached $15bn of sales for the first time. Our integrated sales were up by 6% on a constant exchange rate basis. EBITDA was 7% on a constant exchange rate basis and of course it was impacted by currency. EPS at $19.42 was up 1% and we had strong free cash flow generation during the year, $1.2bn. We had growth in three out of the four regions of the Company on a constant exchange rate basis. Headlining it was Europe, Africa, Middle East where we had 11% growth, which was particularly pleasing given the political upheaval we had in Russia and the CIS early in the year where our leaders got after price increases in local currencies to respond to the situation there.

“Turning to North America, the other big Northern hemisphere region, it was a difficult year in 2014. We got off to a late start with the late spring and that depressed some of the sales of our leading pre-emergent herbicide line and corn acres themselves were down of course and we’ve got a very strong corn portfolio. Then we didn’t get any help from Canada where we experienced some flooding. That said, we’ve got some terrific products in the pipeline and 2015 is right around the corner.”

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Jim Lane is editor and publisher  of Biofuels Digest where this article was originally published. Biofuels Digest is the most widely read  Biofuels daily read by 14,000+ organizations. Subscribe here.


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