Bunge Reports First Quarter 2019 Results

John W. Neppl Appointed Chief Financial Officer, Effective May 29


Source: Bunge Limited

via PRNewswire - May 08, 2019


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Bunge Limited (NYSE: BG)


    Q1 GAAP EPS of $0.26 vs. $(0.20) in the prior year; $0.36 vs. $(0.06) on an adjusted basis

    Higher Agribusiness results reflect better Oilseeds crush volumes and margins

    Improved results in Food & Ingredients driven by full quarter of Loders Croklaan ownership and higher margins in Brazil operations

    Global Competitiveness Program continues to simplify operations and streamline customer service; on track to deliver $250 million of total savings a year ahead of schedule

    New global operating model to accelerate decision-making, increase accountability and allocate capital to highest return opportunities




Greg Heckman, Bunge's Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Our results for the quarter were generally in-line with our expectations. I am pleased with our team's ability to execute and with the energy and engagement I've seen throughout the company. We continue to focus on operational performance, optimizing the portfolio, and strengthening financial discipline, strategic priorities which will move our organization forward.


To that end, today we announced a new global operating model to improve the speed and quality of decision-making," Mr. Heckman continued. "We expect this new model to provide additional clarity and accountability of roles and responsibilities and enhance strategic flexibility as we continue to evaluate the portfolio."


    Financial Highlights

March 31,

US$ in millions, except per share data



Net income (loss) attributable to Bunge





Net income (loss) per common share from continuing operations-diluted





Net income (loss) per common share from continuing operations-diluted, adjusted (a)





Total Segment EBIT (a)





Certain gains & (charges) (b)



Total Segment EBIT, adjusted (a)





Agribusiness (c)















Food & Ingredients (d)





Sugar & Bioenergy












(a) Total Segment earnings before interest and tax ("Total Segment EBIT"); Total Segment EBIT, adjusted; net income (loss) per common share from continuing operations-diluted, adjusted; adjusted funds from operations and ROIC are non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations to the most directly comparable U.S. GAAP measures are included in the tables attached to this press release and the accompanying slide presentation posted on Bunge's website.  See Note 11 for a reconciliation of Cash provided by (used for) operating activities to Adjusted funds from operations.


(b) Certain gains & (charges) included in Total Segment EBIT.  See Additional Financial Information for detail.


(c) See footnote 10 for a description of the Oilseeds and Grains businesses in Bunge's Agribusiness segment.


(d) Includes Edible Oil Products and Milling Products segments.


    First Quarter Results




In Oilseeds, structural soy crush margins were higher in the U.S., Brazil and Europe due to our decision in 2018 to hedge a portion of our first-half 2019 crush capacity. Partially offsetting this improvement, were lower results in Argentina and China. Softseed processing results increased due to higher structural margins in Europe and Canada that more than offset lower results in China. First quarter results in 2018 were impacted by approximately $120 million of negative mark-to-market related to forward oilseed crushing contracts. Oilseed trading and distribution results were lower than last year, which benefited from higher volatility.


In Grains, lower margins and volumes due to the combination of farmer retention of soybeans and reduced export demand from China negatively impacted results in origination and trading and distribution. While risk management was a positive contributor to the quarter, results were weaker than last year.


Edible Oil Products


Higher results in the quarter were driven by a full quarter of ownership of Loders Croklaan and an improved margin environment in Brazil, while results in Asia were slightly lower than last year.




Improved results in Brazil were more than offset by lower margins and volumes in Mexico. Results in the U.S. were similar to last year.


Sugar & Bioenergy


Q1 is the intercrop period and production for the season began toward the end of March.  The sugar and ethanol sold during the quarter was inventory from the previous harvest.


Sugarcane milling results were slightly below last year primarily driven by lower sugar and ethanol prices, which were largely offset by lower costs.




Higher results in the quarter were driven by our Argentine operation where lower costs more than offset lower margins.


Global Competitiveness Program


The Global Competitiveness Program (GCP) announced in July 2017 continues to rationalize Bunge's cost structure and re-engineer how the company operates. Through 2018, Bunge has achieved $200 million in cost reductions, with an incremental $50 million expected in 2019. This will achieve the full savings target of $250 million a year ahead of schedule, reducing addressable SG&A to $1.1 billion annually from $1.35 billion when the program began.


Cash Flow


Cash used by operations in the three months ended March 31, 2019 was $402 million compared to cash used of approximately $1.8 billion in the same period last year. The year-over-year variance is primarily due to a decrease in inventory. Trailing four-quarter adjusted funds from operations was approximately $1.2 billion as of the quarter ended March 31, 2019.


Income Taxes


Income taxes for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 were $38 million.




Based on current market conditions, the Company's view on 2019 full-year consolidated results has not changed from its previously disclosed outlook, provided on February 21, 2019.


In Agribusiness, based on the current soy crush margin environment, 2019 full-year results would be expected to be lower than 2018.  Actual soy crush margins over the course of the year are likely to evolve based on U.S.-China trade discussions, crop sizes and farmer commercialization. Based on the current softseed crush margin environment, results would be slightly higher than last year, driven by strong oil demand. Improvements in risk management and in how we operate should support higher results in Grains compared with last year.


In Food & Ingredients, full-year results in Edible Oils should benefit from 12 months of ownership of Loders Croklaan, as well as increased synergies from the integration of our B2B businesses. Favorable Milling operating environments in Brazil and the U.S. are likely to be partially offset by more challenging conditions in Mexico.


In Sugar & Bioenergy, based on normal weather and forward price curves for sugar and ethanol, full-year 2019 results would be expected to be about break-even.  As in past years, results will be seasonally weighted to the second half of the year.


In Fertilizer, based on the current market environment, full-year results would be lower than last year.


The Global Competitiveness Program is expected to generate approximately $50 million of incremental year-over-year savings.  The Company expects additional savings from industrial and supply chain initiatives, which are expected to offset inflation.


Additionally, the Company expects the following for 2019: A tax rate in the range of 22% to 26%; net interest expense in the range of $290 to $310 million; capital expenditures of approximately $550 million, of which approximately $115 million is related to sugarcane milling; and depreciation, depletion and amortization of approximately $650 million.


    Chief Financial Officer Appointment


Separately, Bunge also announces today that it has appointed John W. Neppl as Chief Financial Officer, effective May 29, 2019. He will succeed Thomas M. Boehlert who has served as Chief Financial Officer since 2017 and will remain for a transition period.


Commenting on the CFO appointment, Mr. Heckman said, "I have previously worked with John in operating agricultural processing, distribution, trading, food and food ingredients businesses. His decades of experience and his successful track record of driving organizational strategy will enable him to make a significant contribution to Bunge's future, and to build on the world-class financial team assembled under Thom's leadership."


Mr. Heckman added, "Thom has been a great contributor to Bunge, including his spearheading of our successful Global Competitiveness Program. I also want to express my personal gratitude to Thom for his key role in supporting Board Chair Kathi Hyle and me in our new roles over the past several months."


Mr. Neppl joins Bunge from Green Plains Inc., where he served as Chief Financial Officer. Green Plains is a diversified commodity processing business with operations related to ethanol production, grain handling and storage, cattle feeding, and commodity marketing and logistics services.  Prior to Green Plains, Mr. Neppl was CFO of Gavilon Group and previously held senior financial roles at ConAgra Foods.


    Conference Call and Webcast Details


Bunge Limited's management will host a conference call at 8:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 to discuss the company's results.


Additionally, a slide presentation to accompany the discussion of results will be posted on www.bunge.com.


To listen to the call, please dial (877) 883-0383. If you are located outside the United States or Canada, dial (412) 902-6506. Please dial in five to 10 minutes before the scheduled start time and enter confirmation code 6317202. The call will also be webcast live at www.bunge.com.


To access the webcast, go to "Webcasts and presentations" in the "Investors" section of the company's website. Select "Q1 2019 Bunge Limited Conference Call" and follow the prompts. Please go to the website at least 15 minutes prior to the call to register and download any necessary audio software.


A replay of the call will be available later in the day on May 8, 2019, continuing through June 8, 2019. To listen to it, please dial (877) 344-7529 in the United States, (855) 669-9658 in Canada, or (412) 317-0088 in other locations. When prompted, enter confirmation code 10130216. A replay will also be available in "Past events" at "Webcasts and presentations" in the "Investors" section of the company's website.


    About Bunge Limited


Bunge Limited (www.bunge.com,NYSE: BG) is a world leader in sourcing, processing and supplying oilseed and grain products and ingredients. Founded in 1818, Bunge's expansive network feeds and fuels a growing world, creating sustainable products and opportunities for more than 70,000 farmers and the consumers they serve in over 60 countries. The company is headquartered in New York and has 31,000 employees worldwide who stand behind more than 360 port terminals, oilseed processing plants, grain silos, and food and ingredient production and packaging facilities around the world.


    Website Information


We routinely post important information for investors on our website, www.bunge.com, in the "Investors" section. We may use this website as a means of disclosing material, non-public information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Accordingly, investors should monitor the Investors section of our website, in addition to following our press releases, SEC filings, public conference calls, presentations and webcasts. The information contained on, or that may be accessed through, our website is not incorporated by reference into, and is not a part of, this document.


    Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements


This press release contains both historical and forward-looking statements. All statements, other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts, but rather reflect our current expectations and projections about our future results, performance, prospects and opportunities. We have tried to identify these forward-looking statements by using words including "may," "will," "should," "could," "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "plan," "intend," "estimate," "continue" and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause our actual results, performance, prospects or opportunities to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. The following important factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements: the outcome and effects of the Board's strategic review; our ability to attract and retain executive management and key personnel;  industry conditions, including fluctuations in supply, demand and prices for agricultural commodities and other raw materials and products used in our business; fluctuations in energy and freight costs and competitive developments in our industries; the effects of weather conditions and the outbreak of crop and animal disease on our business; global and regional agricultural, economic, financial and commodities market, political, social and health conditions; the outcome of pending regulatory and legal proceedings; our ability to complete, integrate and benefit from acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures and strategic alliances; our ability to achieve the efficiencies, savings and other benefits anticipated from our cost reduction, margin improvement and other business optimization initiatives; changes in government policies, laws and regulations affecting our business, including agricultural and trade policies, tax regulations and biofuels legislation; and other factors affecting our business generally. The forward-looking statements included in this release are made only as of the date of this release, and except as otherwise required by federal securities law, we do not have any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.


    Additional Financial Information


The following table provides a summary of certain gains and charges that may be of interest to investors, including a description of these items and their effect on net income (loss) attributable to Bunge, earnings per share diluted and total segment EBIT for the quarters ended March 31, 2019 and 2018.


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