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ADM’s Earnings Top Forecasts on Strong Crush Margins, Buoyant Demand

ADM’s Earnings Top Forecasts on Strong Crush Margins, Buoyant Demand

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co on Thursday said robust soy crushing margins and hefty global demand for crops propelled the U.S. grains merchant to a record fourth-quarter profit and would keep driving strong results in 2023.

ADM reported a 46% operating profit jump in its core Ag Services and Oilseeds unit in the quarter ended Dec. 31, more than offsetting lower earnings from ethanol operations due to thin margins and ample inventories of the biofuel. It also eclipsed weaker earnings in its high-margin Nutrition segment.

ADM shares were down 1.5% at $84.28 near midday, in part due to the disappointing Nutrition-segment result, which was below the consensus analyst estimate.

The solid earnings highlighted how global crop merchants have weathered rising energy costs and supply chain disruptions, such as lower Black Sea grain exports following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

ADM and its agribusiness peers make money by processing, trading, and shipping crops around the world. The supply chain middlemen tend to thrive when crises like droughts or war trigger shortages.

“As we look forward to 2023, we expect another very strong year,” Chief Executive Juan Luciano said.

“We still see tightness in supply and demand balances in key products and regions,” he said, citing reduced Ukrainian grain supplies and smaller harvests in drought-hit Argentina.

Adjusted operating profit in Ag Services and Oilseeds rose as strong South American crop exports and good margins offset reduced U.S. exports.

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