Bunge’s Q1 earnings jump, EPS revised 25% up on positive market trends

4 May 2021 | Liliana Minton

Global grain merchant Bunge has reported net income of $831 million in the first quarter of 2021, a recovery from a $184 million loss in the same quarter of last year and at a jump from $551 million in the final quarter of 2020, driven by solid performance of its agribusiness segment.

“Our outstanding results in the first quarter of 2021 reflect the fundamental strength of our platform and the benefits our integrated global approach to bring to farmers and end customers,” Greg Heckman, Bunge's CEO said in a statement on Tuesday.

The total volume of turnover in agribusiness reached 36.4 million mt traded during Q1, an increase of 11% on the year, while net sales in the sector jumped to $9.79 billion during Q1, from $6.38 billion on the equivalent quarter a year ago.

Adjusted EBIT in its refined and specialty oils segment reached $124 million for the quarter, at a jump of 85% from Q1 2020, on higher results in all regions driven by improved execution and favourable market trends, stated the company.

North America refining benefited from early-stage recovery in food services and increased demand from the renewable diesel sector, while higher margins in South America and Europe more than offset lower volumes.

Adjusted EBIT in its milling segment on the other hand recorded a $12 million loss in Q1, from $23 million in Q1 2020, mainly due to lower margins in both North and South America.

“We are optimistic that the favourable demand environment in the first quarter will continue through 2021, and we have the right team and model in place to maintain our positive momentum,” the company said.

Bunge upwardly revised its full-year 2021 adjusted earnings per share to about $7.50 per share, an increase of 25% from the previous estimates, on the back of strong first quarter results and positive market trends that are expected to last until the year-end.

Full-year results in Bunge’s agribusiness segment are expected to be higher than previously estimated, but still forecast to be down from last year, underpinned by strong performance expected in its refined and specialty oils especially in North America.