US Bunge sees ag markets up in 2011

28 October 2010 19:12  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Markets for agricultural and bioenergy products will strengthen in 2011 on the back of strong fundamentals, US agribusiness major Bunge said on Thursday.

“The global trade in agricultural products will remain strong and we see positive trends for sugar and ethanol next year,” said Bunge chief executive Alberto Weisser in a conference call with investors.

Earlier on Thursday, Bunge reported that net income rose by 4.5% year-over-year in the third quarter to $206m (€150m) due to strong demand.

Pre-tax profits came in at $295m, more than double the $100m recorded in the corresponding period last year. Net sales rose 2.7% to $11.66bn.

Weisser said fertilizer demand in Brazil should benefit from a delayed start to planting because of the late arrival of rains, which gave farmers more time to apply crop nutrients.

“The [agricultural] environment is positive, with demand especially strong for soybean meal and soy oil,” Weisser said.

Soybean meal and oil will be needed to replace wheat in livestock rations in Europe and Asia. Because of an on-going drought, the 2010-2011 winter wheat crops in eastern Europe and western Asia are off to a poor start.

Bunge owns eight sugar mill/ethanol plants in Brazil, and Weisser said the company is investigating whether it should become involved in the blending side of the ethanol business.

Bunge does not see a need at this time to acquire fuel stations as others have done to distribute ethanol in Brazil, Weisser said.

In mid-day trading at the New York Stock Exchange, Bunge shares were at $59.17/share, down about 4% from the prior day’s close.

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By: Frank Zaworski
+1 713 525 2653



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