US Bunge's Q1 net income falls sharply on lower prices, margins

26 April 2012 12:26  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Bunge’s first-quarter net income more than halved year on year to $92m (€70m) from $232m as it faced lower margins and prices in volatile markets, the US agribusiness and food production company said on Thursday.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) during the quarter also fell sharply to $138m from $317m in the same period last year, while Bunge's diluted earnings per share declined to $0.57 from $1.49.

Despite these steep falls, net sales for the quarter increased by 10% to $13.5bn from $12.2bn and the firm’s CEO Alberto Weisser was upbeat for the remainder of 2012.

"We faced headwinds in the first quarter, as expected, but are confident that we will deliver strong results in 2012,” he said.

The agribusiness and food and ingredients segments had performed well, Weisser added, but lower margins for ethanol had depressed results in sugar and bioenergy. Also, fertilizer margins were pressured by falling international prices.

"Looking ahead, margins should improve significantly in sugar & bioenergy with the new harvest and in fertilizer with the start of the traditional sales season later this year,” Weisser said.

Market conditions in agribusiness indicate cause for optimism, he added, with supply and demand in oilseeds and grains more balanced to support margins. Export shipments in key crops were also up from 2011.

“Volatility should persist, but we feel confident that our risk management capabilities will enable Bunge to navigate the markets successfully,” Weisser said.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Graeme Paterson
+44 20 8652 3214

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