ADM reported fourth quarter earnings per share of 90 cents per share on Jan. 29. Earnings were $1.42 per share on an adjusted basis for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2019. Net earnings for the quarter were $504 million.
“Our team delivered a solid fourth quarter, consistent with our expectations three months ago,” said Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano. “At the end of 2019, we can look back on a full year in which the team did a great job managing through some difficult external conditions while continuing to deliver innovative solutions for our customers. Looking ahead, we’re excited about the opportunities we see in 2020 and beyond. We expect market conditions to improve as the year progresses, particularly as impacts from the U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal take hold.”
ADM's Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of 36 cents per share on the company's common stock, an increase from last quarter's dividend of 35 cents per share. The dividend is payable on March 5, 2020, to shareholders of record on Feb. 13, 2020. This is ADM's 353rd consecutive quarterly payment, marking 88 years of uninterrupted dividends.
Results of Operations
- Ag Services & Oilseeds results were higher year over year, and included approximately $270 million net operating profit impact from the passage of the biodiesel tax credit for 2018 and 2019.
- Ag Services results were slightly lower year over year. In North America, a delayed U.S. harvest contributed to lower export volumes and correspondingly lower margins, partially offset by South America results, which benefited from improved margins driven by good export demand and farmer selling.
- In Crushing, margins overall remained solid, though substantially lower than the near-record levels last year caused by the short 2018 Argentine soybean crop. Negative timing impacts this quarter versus positive timing impacts in the prior-year quarter also contributed to lower year-over-year results.
- Refined Products and Other results were substantially higher. The impact of the passage of the retroactive biodiesel tax credit for 2018 and 2019 was a major driver. The business benefited from strong global demand for both biodiesel and food oils. The Algar Agro acquisition in Brazil, which was completed in December 2018, also contributed to results.
- Wilmar results were slightly higher year over year.
- Carbohydrate Solutions results were lower than the fourth quarter of 2018.
- Starches and Sweeteners results were up year over year, driven by reductions in manufacturing costs and higher income from co-products in North America, partially offset by continued margin pressures in EMEAI. Stronger global wheat milling results also helped contribute to segment performance.
- Bioproducts results were down, largely due to continued unfavorable ethanol industry margins.
- Nutrition results were substantially higher year over year.
- WFSI results were significantly higher than the prior-year quarter. Strong sales and margins for WILD in North America, EMEAI and APAC drove results for the quarter. In Specialty Ingredients, lower sales volumes and margins in emulsifiers and reduced margins in edible beans were partially offset by continued margin growth in proteins. Health & Wellness results benefited from a new strategic agreement for ADM fermentation capacity.
- Animal Nutrition was up substantially versus the prior-year period. Neovia continued to contribute positively to results, partially offset by continued losses in lysine due to a weak global pricing environment.