CHS Report Earnings Increase in Q2 on Improved Conditions Across Wholesale and Agriculture

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06 Apr 2017 --- CHS Inc., have reported net income of $14.6 million for the second quarter of its 2017 fiscal year (the three-month period ended Feb. 28, 2017), compared to a net loss of $31 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2016. Operating earnings for the company's second quarter were $10.5 million, up from a loss of $91.8 million from the second quarter of fiscal 2016. Revenues for the second quarter were $7.3 billion, up 11 percent compared with $6.6 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2016.

Earnings for the six months of the company's fiscal 2017 (the six-month period ended Feb. 28, 2017), were $223.7 million, compared to $235.5 million for the first six months of fiscal 2016, a decrease of 5 percent. The decrease is a result of increased loan loss reserves, higher income taxes and continued challenges in the energy operating environment, which were partially offset by improved conditions across CHS wholesale and retail agricultural related businesses.

Revenues for the first six months of fiscal 2017 were $15.4 billion, compared to $14.4 billion for the first six months of fiscal 2016, an increase of 7 percent.

"As our operating environment remains challenging, we continue to act prudently, taking appropriate and measured actions regarding costs and investments, while positioning ourselves to take advantage of opportunities as they arise while focusing on return on our invested capital," said CHS President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Casale. "We are on a journey and are starting to see the benefits of our focus."

The CHS Energy segment generated a pretax income of $16.6 million for the second quarter of the 2017 fiscal year, compared to a loss of $63.1 million for the same period in fiscal 2016, representing an increase of $79.7 million. Results were primarily due to increased refining margins and a $46.1 million non-cash charge to reduce inventory to market value in the second quarter of fiscal 2016 that did not recur in the current year. The company's propane and lubricants businesses experienced an increase in earnings, partially offset by a decrease in the company's transportation business compared to the same period of the prior year. For the first six months of fiscal 2017, the segment generated pre-tax earnings totaled $86.6 million, compared to $129.9 million for the same period last year. 

The CHS Agricultural segment, which includes domestic and global grain marketing and crop nutrients businesses, renewable fuels, local retail operations and processing and food ingredients, lost $9.3 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2017, compared to a loss of $31.1 million for the second quarter for 2016. Each of the primary business units in the Agricultural segment realized increased earnings during the second quarter of fiscal 2017, as compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2016, with the exception of country operations. Grain marketing increased earnings due primarily to improved grain margins. Wholesale crop nutrients income increased for the quarter due to higher volumes. 

Processing and food ingredients earnings increased due to an impairment charge for assets held for sale in the prior fiscal year. Earnings from renewable fuels marketing and production operations also increased, primarily due to higher margins. These increases were partially offset by increased loan loss reserves related to the company's country operations retail business.  Absent these reserve increases, the country operations retail business experienced strong second quarter operating performance versus the prior year's second quarter. These earnings were part of the $99.9 million total for the CHS Ag segment for the first six months of fiscal 2017, compared to $38.1 million for the first six months of fiscal 2016.

The company's Foods segment, previously reported as a component of Corporate and Other, generated pretax earnings of $3.1 million during the second quarter of fiscal 2017, a decrease of $8.4 million compared to $11.5 million for the same period the fiscal year before, and $13.7 million during the first six months of fiscal 2017, compared to $29.9 million for the same period of fiscal 2016. The decreases were primarily due to decreased margins at Ventura Foods, LLC, the CHS equity method investment that makes up the Foods segment.

Corporate and Other generated pretax income of $7.7 million during the second quarter of fiscal 2017, compared to $4.9 million during the same time period the previous year, an increase of $2.8 million, or 57 percent, and income of $16.5 million for the six months ended Feb. 28, 2017, compared to $14.2 million during the first six months of fiscal 2016. Earnings in this category are derived from the company's equity investment in the Ardent Mills, LLC wheat milling joint venture and CHS Business Solutions operations.  

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