Corn Products profit falls in Q4

Related tags Corn products South america North america Maize Mexico

Food ingredients and syrups manufacturer Corn Products
International said on Tuesday that fourth-quarter profit fell 41
percent as a result of restructuring in Mexico and South America.

Quarterly earnings decreased to $14.4 million, or 19 cents per share, from $24.5 million, or 34 cents per share, a year ago. The results included a restructuring charge of $15 million, or 20 cents per share, related to projects to improve manufacturing efficiency in Mexico and South America.

Revenue, on the other hand, rose 6 percent to $619.9 million from $584.8 million. North American sales saw the slowest rise, up 8 percent to $1.4 billion, while South America led the way with an increase in revenue of 12 percent to $556 million. Asia and Africa were only a notch behind, seeing sales growth of 11 percent to $308 million.

Profit levels looked rosier for the year as a whole, rising 23 percent to $93.6 million, or $1.25 per share, from $76.4 million, or $1.06 per share, in 2003, while sales increased 8 percent to $2.46 billion from $2.27 billion.

The company suggested that South America would continue to be at the head of the pack in 2005, while predicting that Asia/Africa would have "a better year"​.

Meanwhile, Corn Products attributed the increase in sales in North America last year to volume growth and improved pricing in Mexico and the US and said it expected this to continue during the next twelve months.

Earlier this month Forbes magazine named the firm one of America's best managed companies based on peer-to-peer earnings evaluation, accounting and governance scores.

Corn Products desire for success has included a push to attain greater efficiency resulting in the closure of two of its corn refining facilities, namely one of its starch plants in Guadalajara, Mexico (Cisne), the smallest of its four plants in Mexico, and one of its facilities in the Andean region in South America.

And in June, the company took the decision to try and defend its market position by taking root in China and linking up with Shandong Juneng Electric Power Group Golden Corn Development company to manufacture modifed corn starch.

"Establishing what we expect will be our initial manufacturing presence in China is aligned with our company's strategy of growing businesses in new, high-growth regions,"​ said Scott at the time.

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