Bunge attributes impressive full year performance to 3-year-old transformation strategy

USA — American agribusiness and food company Bunge Limited is reaping the benefits of a transformation strategy it embarked on 3-years ago.  

According to company executives, this transformation helped guide the St. Louis-based company to strong fiscal 2021 results where net income doubled to US$2.08 billion from US$1.16 billion a year earlier.  

Full-year sales in 2021 were also up 43% to US$59.15 billion from US$41.4 billion in 2020 while in the fourth quarter, sales were US$16.68 billion, up 32% from US$12.61 billion in the final quarter of 2020. 

 In a February conference call with securities analysts, Gregory A. Heckman, chief executive officer of Bunge, said the company has begun to reap the rewards of a strategy that now has all areas of the company pulling in the same direction. 

As an example of its solid base, Heckman pointed to the plant-based lipids platform that Bunge is building through the combination of Loders Croklaan and the legacy Bunge Oils business. 

Heckman said Bunge has taken a similarly methodical approach in evaluating how it can improve financial discipline within the organization. 

“We’ve rewired our systems so we have better visibility to our data, and we used that information in a structured way to make better commercial, risk management and capital decisions,” he said. 

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Another area of success for Bunge has been the company’s leadership’s willingness to embrace the spirit of continuous improvement.  

Heckman said that during 2021 Bunge achieved records in total crush volume, refining performance, and port volumes. The company also had more than 100 capital expenditure projects each exceeding US$1 million. 

Ceres turns in record quarter, six months 

Meanwhile, Minneapolis, Minnesota-based agricultural commodities company Ceres Global Ag Corp has turned in a strong second quarter and the best six-month period in the company’s history. 

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Net income in the second quarter ended Dec. 31, 2021, totaled US$4.03 million, equal to 13¢ per share on the common stock, up 204% from US$1.33 million, or 4¢ per share, in the same period a year ago.  

Revenues, meanwhile, increased 74% to US$304.8 million from US$175.27 million, primarily due to higher commodity prices compared to the same quarter a year ago. 

In the six months ended Dec. 31, 2021, net income was US$12.8 million, or 42¢ per share, up sharply from US$389,000, or 1¢ per share, in the same period a year ago.

 Revenues for the half-year jumped 48% to US$513.17 million from US$347.36 million. 

“Contributing to our positive results was our recently expanded soybean crush plant in Jordan, Manitoba, which ran at full capacity during the quarter and produced the best financial results in the plant’s history,” Robert Day, president and chief executive officer. 

Ceres said its joint venture Farmers Grain, LLC has made a major investment to add storage and unit train loading capabilities to its grain operation in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, US.  

Construction on the project is expected to be completed prior to the 2022 harvest. 

In addition, Ceres said its plans to build an integrated canola processing facility in Northgate, Saskatchewan, Canada, remain on track to begin operations in the summer of 2024. 

Once operational, the facility will have the capacity to process approximately 1 million tonnes of canola and refine more than 500,000 tonnes of canola oil, for both food and renewable fuel, per year, Ceres said. 

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