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ADM outlines strategy for growth

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 18-Jun-2010

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) intends to grow profits in the year ahead through acquisitions as well as expanding its existing business, the company said in a presentation to investors this week.

Company executives for the agricultural processing giant discussed ADM’s business strategy at the Deutsche Bank 7th Annual Global Consumer Conference in Paris.

ADM saw its net profits soar during the third quarter of 2010, although lower prices for sweeteners and starches reduced earnings from corn processing. For the quarter ended March 31, the company reported a profit of $421m, up from just $3m for the same period last year – an increase that the company attributed to increased demand for corn products for ethanol, while it said there were some signs of strengthening grain prices.

ADM’s executive vice president and chief financial officer Steve Mills said at the investors’ meeting: “We continue to aggressively pursue profitable growth. We are advancing our efforts to expand the types and volumes of crops we originate and process, the size and global footprint of our core model, and the range of products we make from crops.”

Company officials also announced the return of flexibility to repurchase shares.

“After a period of limited ability to buy our own stock, we again have the option to repurchase shares, which we can use along with organic growth and acquisitions to deliver value to our shareholders,” Mills said. “The ultimate size of the buyback will depend on a variety of factors including share price and market conditions.”

He added that the company would seek to expand its crop origination and processing activities in line with growing market demand, or as opportunities for acquisition emerge.

ADM has more than 230 processing facilities worldwide. Its net sales for fiscal 2009, ended June 30, were $69bn.

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