CHICAGO — Buoyed by what the company’s chief executive officer called a “very, very strong quarter” in its Ag Services and Oilseeds business, overall income at Chicago-based ADM climbed 11% in the first quarter of fiscal 2023. Strength in Ag Services and Oilseeds helped offset softness in the company’s Carbohydrate Solutions and Nutrition segments during the period.
Net earnings attributable to ADM in the first quarter ended March 31 totaled $1.17 billion, equal to $2.12 per share on the common stock, up 11% from $1.05 billion, or $1.86 per share, in the same period a year ago.
Revenues for the first quarter increased 1.8%, climbing to $24.07 billion from $23.65 billion.
“Our performance demonstrates once again, the advantage of ADM’s uniquely integrated value chain and broad portfolio,” Juan Luciano, chairman, president and chief executive officer of ADM, said during an April 25 conference call with analysts. “Along with the team’s ability to respond nimbly to opportunities aligned to the three enduring trends of food security, health and well-being and sustainability. All of this was achieved in a fluid economic environment, where ripple effects are being felt from both inflationary and recessionary pressures. Shifts in global demand and trade activity and the ongoing war in Ukraine. Our team continues to find ways to rise above these challenges and meet our customers’ needs for consistency, quality and innovation at every turn, across our business units.
“We have wrapped up Q1 with a strong balance sheet, healthy cash flows, and we are on track for our 2023 and long-term strategic growth plans, and we continue to pursue growth opportunities and increase shareholder returns, in alignment with our disciplined capital allocation framework.”
Operating profit in the Ag Services and Oilseeds segment increased 20% in the first quarter of fiscal 2023, climbing to $1.21 billion from $1.01 billion. Ag Services profit rose 35% during the quarter to $348 million, while crushing profit decreased to $426 million from $428 million.
“In South American origination, excellent risk management and higher export demand due to the record Brazilian soybean crop drove significantly higher year-over-year results,” said Vikram Luthar, chief financial officer. “In North America, origination results were also higher, driven by stronger soybean exports. In global trade, solid margins and efficient execution led to strong results. Crushing results were in line with the first quarter last year.
“In North America, the team executed well, capitalizing on historically strong soybean and softseed crush margins that were supported by robust demand for renewable fuels. In EMEA, crush margins were lower year-over-year, as trade flows adjusted from the dislocations caused last year by the war in Ukraine. Additionally, there were approximately $240 million of positive timing effects during the quarter, which included both expected reversals of prior timing losses, as we executed the business as well as a positive impact of about $100 million pulled forward from future periods, as crush margins declined at the end of the quarter.”
Operating profit in the Carbohydrate Solutions segment decreased 14% in the first quarter to $273 million. Starches and sweeteners profit decreased 3% during the quarter, easing to $307 million from $316 million. Vantage Corn Processors sustained a loss of $34 million in the quarter, which compared with a profit of $1 million in the same period a year ago.
“The global wheat milling business posted much higher margins driven by robust customer demand,” Mr. Luthar said.
In the Nutrition segment operating profit decreased 23% to $145 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2023, down from $189 million a year ago. Within the segment, human nutrition profit fell to $138 million from $141 million, while animal nutrition plummeted to $7 million from $48 million.
“Human nutrition results were in line with the first quarter of 2022, as the business continued to manage demand fulfillment challenges and destocking in certain categories,” Mr. Luthar said. “Flavors results were slightly lower than the prior year as strong results in EMEA were offset by lower results in North America. Specialty Ingredients results were higher year-over-year, driven by healthy margins. Health and Wellness was lower year-over-year.”
Despite some pockets of soft demand, Mr. Luciano said ADM is confident it will be able to deliver on its plans for 2023.
“Supply and demand shifts are allowing ADM to flex our integrated value chain in support of another strong year of results,” he said. “We continue to advance partnership agreements with major players across multiple industries. From regenerative agriculture to alternative proteins, to sustainable fuels, to plant-based industrial and personal care products. All of these partnerships are supporting ADM, as we evolve at pace with the external environment to capture new growth opportunities.“We see accelerated upside emerging from product areas like biosolutions, expected to grow at double-digit rates, again this year. We have significant production capacity coming online within the year across our three businesses to support continued demand growth. And we’re driving forward the broad-based decarbonization agenda in our Decatur complex, which is unlocking both near-term and long-range value for our customers across multiple industries.”