USA – Agricultural commodities trader, Bunge Ltd recently reported its fourth-quarter profit, recording adjusted earnings of US$3.24 per share against the predicted US$3.22 per share, according to data from Refinitiv.

The net sales totaled US$16.66 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with US$16.68 billion a year earlier.

The Chesterfield, Missouri-based company attributed its higher-than-expected profit to robust soy crushing margins and global demand for crops hence bolstering its core agribusiness.

For the year ended December 31 2022, Bunge net income was US$1.61 billion, equal to $10.51 per share on the common stock, down 23% from $2.08 billion, or $13.64 per share, in fiscal 2021.

Adjusted total segment EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes), though, increased to $2.86 billion from $2.53 billion. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share were $13.91 in 2022, up from $12.93 in 2021.

 Net sales in the Agribusiness Division division increased 9% to US$47.7 billion from US$43.64 billion, while volumes slipped to 77,492,000 tonnes from 83,957,000 tonnes.

Refined and Specialty Oils unit, saw net sales increase 26% to $16.85 billion from $13.33 billion. Volumes, meanwhile, were slightly higher, climbing to 9,201,000 tonnes from 9,155,000 tonnes.

The company’s Milling unit on the other hand saw sales in the division increase 25%, climbing to $2.39 billion from $1.91 billion. Volumes fell to 4,331,000 tonnes from 4,509,000 tonnes

According to the report by Refinitv, tight global crop supplies and strong demand have benefited supply chain middlemen including Bunge, which makes money by processing, trading, and shipping crops around the world.

Greg Heckman, chief executive officer of Bunge, commented: “Our team delivered another strong quarter, capping off an exceptional 2022 for Bunge.

Our global platform, approach, and focused execution demonstrated the adaptability of our business, allowing us to successfully navigate a dynamic market,” he added.

Heckman also pointed to Bunge’s progress on finding innovative, sustainable solutions in the renewable space.

“Over the year, we made progress on executing our strategy to strengthen and expand our core business while positioning us to benefit over the long term from the growing demand for food, feed, and renewable fuel.”

To that end, the company announced joint ventures with Chevron and Orígeo, as well as a partnership with CoverCress in 2022. Bunge also invested in plant-based lipids and proteins at its R&D and innovation facilities.

As the company heads into fiscal 2023, executives at Bunge Ltd. expect the company to face challenges across its three main business units, including its core agribusiness segment, which is expected to be dragged down by the unit’s merchandising business

“Looking ahead to 2023, we expect the favorable market environment we experienced last year to continue,” Heckman added.

The company expects full-year 2023 adjusted earnings of at least US$11 per share, while analysts expect US$12 per share.

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