Bunge posts 39% fall in Q3 net income on low margins

22 October 2009 12:17  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Bunge posted a 39% year-on-year fall in third-quarter net income to $197m (€132m) due to weak fertilizer margins, the US agribusiness and fertilizer producer said on Thursday.

The company’s third-quarter sales declined 24% year on year to $11.3bn despite sales volumes increasing 5% to 36,843 tonnes, Bunge said in a statement.

The firm's fertilizer business was the weakest performer, recording an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss for the three months of $127m, down from a profit of $84m in the year-earlier period.

Bunge's chairman and CEO, Alberto Weisser, said margins in the fertilizer business continued to be pressured by high-cost inventory and a weak pricing environment.

"After rising during the beginning of the third quarter, international phosphate prices pulled back on lackluster global demand. This factor, combined with lower demand in the Brazilian fertilizer market due to reduced planting of fertilizer-intensive corn and cotton, as well as farmers' cautious approach to input purchases, contributed to a weaker-than-expected domestic pricing environment,” Weisser added.

He expected Bunge to perform well in 2010 and the firm's margin structure to return to more traditional levels.

Bunge revised its full-year earnings per share guidance to $3.10-3.50, down from $4.90-5.40.

($1 = €0.66)

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By: Lucy Craymer
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