USA-Ardent Mills, one of the largest milling companies in the United States, has maintained an upward trajectory in the second quarter that ended November 27, 2022, according to a Form 10-Q filing by Conagra Brands, Inc. with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Conagra Brands, Inc, one of North America’s leading branded food companies, owns a 44% stake in Ardent Mills. The remaining 56% is owned by American commodity trading giants Cargill (44%) and CHS (12%).

The company had equity method investment earnings of US$49.3 million in the second quarter that ended in August, up 67% from US$29.5M in the second quarter of fiscal 2022.

Form 10-Q filing also reported that year-to-date, equity method investment earnings at Conagra were US$98.5 million, up 98% from US$49.7 million in the first half of fiscal 2023.

The filing results were in line with those of the previous quarters where Conagra realized US$49.2M in the first quarter of fiscal 2023, US$47.5 million in the final quarter of fiscal 2022, and US$48.1 million in the third quarter.

Showing an upward trend, the first quarter of the fiscal year 2023 which ended in August 2022, registered a higher earning (US$49.2 million) which was up 144% from $20.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2022. In the same period of fiscal 2021, Conagra’s equity method investment earnings were $6.5 million.

In an earnings call with investment analysts, David Marberger, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said that the company’s adjusted gross margin during the quarter improved by 650 basis points.

He further added that the increase in adjusted gross profit, combined with another strong performance from the Ardent Mills joint venture, contributed to adjusted EBITDA growth of 21.5%.

Similarly, a 27% improvement in adjusted earnings per share for Conagra “was primarily driven by higher sales and gross profit as well as a small benefit from a continued strong performance from Ardent Mills,” he said.

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