In this file:
· Smokin' hot volcano-to-table protein startup attracts $33M from Danone, ADM
Sustainable Bioproducts announced it raised $33 million in Series A funding from the venture capital arms of Archer Daniels Midland…
· Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
ADM earnings call for the period ending December 31, 2018.
Smokin' hot volcano-to-table protein startup attracts $33M from Danone, ADM
Cathy Siegner, FoodDive
Feb. 5, 2019
· Sustainable Bioproducts announced it raised $33 million in Series A funding from the venture capital arms of Archer Daniels Midland and Danone, among several other investors. The Chicago-based biotechnology startup is growing edible protein in the laboratory based on research into microbes that live in the volcanic springs of Yellowstone National Park.
· The company said 1955 Capital led the round. Other participants include Breakthrough Energy Ventures — which is a $1 billion fund led by Bill Gates, with investments from Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson — along with Lauder Partners and the Liebelson family office.
· The company has developed innovative fermentation technology, which it said can grow protein with a high nutritional value and minimal impact on the environment. "Curiosity and a passion for exploration led us to Yellowstone, one of the harshest ecosystems in the world," Thomas Jonas, CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. "By observing how life optimizes the use of resources in this challenging environment, we have invented a way to make protein that is radically more efficient and gentler on our planet."
Sustainable Bioproducts noted it is taking lessons learned from the microbes in Yellowstone, which are called extremophiles due to their ability to adapt and grow despite extreme conditions. The company replicates the high-protein microbes in the lab and feeds them starches or glycerin. The result is protein containing all nine amino acids essential for the human diet, Food Business News reported.
Jonas told Food Business News the lab-grown protein could end up adapting to a variety of food products and come in the form of a solid, liquid or powder. Some examples are meat substitutes, protein powders or other items.
"It could be some things that are more meat-like. It can be savory; it can be sweet; it can be liquid; it can be dairy-like," he said.
However, commercialization of these microbe-based protein products remains a few years off, according to The Wall Street Journal. Still, it's clear the company's vision has resonated with some deep-pocketed investors who want to support projects that emphasize sustainability and produce plant-based protein products with less water, land and other costly and energy-intensive inputs.
"They know the current agricultural model doesn’t align with their long-term mission. When it comes to changing our food system, we really have to think about how we can do it with a fraction of the resources," Jonas told The Journal.
The development of lab-grown edible protein products is becoming more common as biotech firms look for sustainable alternatives to conventional protein sources. Examples include Memphis Meats, which has attracted investment funding from Cargill, Tyson Foods' VC arm Tyson Ventures, Bill Gates and Richard Branson to develop its lab-grown meat products.
Not surprisingly, the trend is giving the animal agriculture industry heartburn. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association...
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
ADM earnings call for the period ending December 31, 2018.
Motley Fool Transcribing
Feb 5, 2019
Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE:ADM)
Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call
Feb. 5, 2019 9:00 a.m. ET
Questions and Answers
Good morning, and welcome to the Archer Daniels Midland Company fourth-quarter 2018 earnings conference call. [Operator instructions] As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded. I would now like to introduce your host for today's call, Victoria de la Huerga, vice president, investor relations for Archer Daniels Midland Company. Ms.
de la Huerga, you may begin.
Victoria de la Huerga -- Vice President, Investor Relations
Thank you, Jack. Good morning, and welcome to ADM's fourth-quarter earnings webcast. Starting tomorrow, a replay of today's webcast will be available at adm.com. For those following the presentation, please turn to Slide 2, the company's safe harbor statement, which says that some of our comments constitute forward-looking statements that reflect management's current views and estimates of future economic circumstances, industry conditions, company performance and financial results.
These statements are based on many assumptions and factors that are subject to risk and uncertainties. ADM has provided additional information in its reports on file with the SEC concerning assumptions and factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in this presentation, and you should carefully review the assumptions and factors in our SEC reports. To the extent permitted under applicable law, ADM assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events. On today's webcast, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Juan Luciano will provide an overview of the quarter and the year.
Our Chief Financial Officer Ray Young will review financial highlights and corporate results as well as the drivers of our performance. Then Juan will discuss our forward look, and finally, they will take your questions. Please turn to Slide 3. I will now turn the call over to Juan.
Juan Luciano -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Thank you, Victoria. Good morning, everyone. Thank you all for joining us today. Last week, we were in France welcoming our Neovia colleagues to ADM as we closed on that truly transformational acquisition for our Animal Nutrition business.
This morning, we're speaking to you from our WILD Flavors facility in Heidelberg, Germany. It's a state-of-the-art complex, and we're excited to talk to our colleagues here about the great work they are doing to serve customers and grow our flavors and system business. This morning, we reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share of $0.88, up from $0.82 in the prior year quarter. Our adjusted segment operating profit was $860 million.
The team did an excellent job to deliver stronger year-over-year profits in a volatile global environment in the quarter and completed an extremely impressive 2018 overall for ADM. Throughout the year, we focused on executing our strategy and pulling the levers under our control. The result was a year in which we delivered: full-year adjusted segment operating profit of $3.4 billion, 26% higher than 2017; adjusted EPS, 44% higher year over year; strong operating cash flows, up more than 40%; and four-quarter trailing ROIC of 8.3%, 200 basis points above our annual WACC. Given those extremely strong results, earlier this morning, we announced a quarterly dividend increase of $0.015 per share or 4.5%.
Our Q1 dividend is our 349th consecutive quarterly payment and an uninterrupted record of 87 years. 2018 was a year in which regardless of market conditions, we continued to execute, improve and grow, resulting in a range of impressive accomplishments. In our optimize pillar, we divested our Bolivian Oilseeds business, took important steps to optimize our U.S. Origination footprint and engineered significant turnarounds in our Global Trade and South American Origination businesses.
In our drive pillar, for the year, we delivered cost savings of more than $300 million on a run rate basis, far outpacing our target of $200 million. In our growth pillar, we opened, expanded and enhanced multiple facilities around the globe, including five new and renovated ingredient manufacturing facilities and three labs and customer innovation centers. We announced Grainbridge, an important joint venture with Cargill in the digital innovation space. We launched the SoyVen Crush joint venture in Egypt and expanded into the Russian starches and sweeteners market with our Aston joint venture.
We grew our Brazilian Oilseeds, Crush and value-added footprint with the Algar acquisition, and we expanded our Taste and Wellness portfolios with the acquisitions of Rodelle and Protexin. We're also now adding citrus flavor capabilities via our acquisition of Florida Chemical Company. And of course, we just closed on our Neovia acquisition, creating a true global leader in value-added products and solutions for both production and companion animals. We also continued to improve on our safety record in 2018.
This was our 18th consecutive year of reducing recordable injuries, and December, overall, was our safest month ever for our employees, though some incidents at the turn of the year reinforced the importance of continued relentless focus on safety. We made important progress in our sustainability goals, beating our own deadlines to meet our 15% by '20 objectives for energy, greenhouse gases, water and waste reduction. And we continued to lead the industry on the important issue of diversity and inclusion. Together We Grow, the consortium ADM began in 2016 to focus on educating, recruiting and retaining a more diverse workforce in the agricultural sector, was recently recognized with the 2018 Innovations in Diversity Award by Profiles in Diversity Journal.
And just last week, we announced our membership in Paradigm for Parity, a global coalition of business leaders dedicated to addressing the gender gap in corporate leadership. All of these accomplishments have been supported by our accelerating Readiness efforts. Please turn to Slide 4. One of my goals as CEO of ADM is not just to deliver good results quarter after quarter, but to enact lasting change that will allow ADM to continue improving year after year.
That's what our companywide Readiness efforts offers, a reinvention of our business...
Ray Young -- Chief Financial Officer ...