Net profit soared 83% at Corn Products International in the fourth quarter of 2011 on the back of higher sales, increased prices, and a one-off accounting gain, the company said Thursday.
The sweeteners and starches maker reported a profit of $95.1m for the quarter ended December 31, compared to $52m for the prior year period. Net sales increased 10% to $1.55bn, from $1.4bn a year earlier.
The company’s North American business saw the biggest increase in sales, up 13% in the quarter, to $834m. Sales rose in all regions, including a 9% increase in South America, 6.7% in EMEA, and a 1.6% rise in the company’s Asia Pacific segment.
Chairman, president and CEO Ilene Gordon said: "Corn Products delivered another very good quarter and closed out an outstanding year. Through challenging economic and weather conditions around the world, our businesses executed against plan, driving meaningful growth while investing for the future. At the same time, we continued the successful integration of the National Starch acquisition.”
The company managed to pass on higher corn costs to its customers through increased prices, and also benefited from its 2010 National Starch acquisition. Margins widened as it grew sales which, for the full year, were up 42%, from $4.4bn to $6.2bn.
"As we look forward to 2012, we believe that we are well positioned to deliver further top and bottom line growth while building on our strong geographic positions and expanding our product portfolio of starch and sweetener ingredients,” Gordon said.
The company revised upward its earnings per share outlook for the year, aiming for profit of $5 to $5.25, compared to the approximately $5 per share it had anticipated in October. It expects sales to exceed $7bn in 2012.
In a conference call with investors, Gordon said the company also expects to complete the integration of National Starch in 2012.
“The acquisition clearly builds on our ingredient strategy by enhancing and expanding our portfolio of products, our R&D capability, and our geographic scope,” she said.
The company’s fourth quarter results also benefited from a one-off accounting gain associated with a pension plan benefit.