Poor sugar harvests hit Bunge;s Q3

Poor sugar harvests hit Bunge;s Q3

US agribusiness company Bunge has seen its net income tumble in the third quarter following a loss-making performance from sugar.

The company said yesterday that net income available to shareholders was US$132m in the three months ending 30 September, a drop from $193m in the same period a year earlier.

However, net sales rose to $15.6bn from $11.6bn in the same period last year.

The nine-month figures show a sharp drop in net income from $1.9bn in 2010 to $663m this year. Sales hit $42.2bn, up from $32.9bn in the first nine months of 2010.

The company said the results were impacted by lower milling volumes and yield due to adverse weather conditions. The Sugar and Bioenergy division made a net loss of $43m for the quarter, a stark contrast to $34m profit in the same period last year.

Alberto Weisser, Bunge's chairman and CEO, admitted the company had been hit hard but remains optimistic.

"The third quarter was a particularly volatile period where managing risk in our agribusiness and sugar segment proved to be challenging", he said.

"However, we expect a stronger fourth quarter and see optimistic signs for Bunge in 2012. Many of our products are basic staples needed to feed the world's growing population. The US Department for Agriculture forecasts that global demand for soybean meal and vegetable oil will increase by 5% and 4% respectively and global commodity stocks remain relatively tight."