Agribusiness Company Bunge Shares Slide 12% On Weaker-than-expected Earnings

By Ciara LinnaneMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Shares of seeds, grains and fertilizer company Bunge Ltd. slid 12% Wednesday, after the company posted weaker-than-expected profit for the first quarter. Bunge said it had net income of $47 million, or 36 cents a share, in the quarter, down sharply from $235 million, or $1.60 a share, in the same period a year ago. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 35 cents, or half of the 70 cents consensus of analysts polled by FactSet. Sales rose to $11.1 billion from $8.9 billion, ahead of the FactSet consensus of $8.9 billion. "The slow pace of farmer selling in South America compressed margins in agribusiness and led to a lower than expected first quarter," Chief Executive Soren Schroder said in a statment. "Our teams managed risks, logistics and industrial operations well. Despite this difficult start, we continue to expect 2017 to be a year of solid year-over-year earnings growth, although below our prior expectations." The company is now expecting full-year earnings before interest and taxes at the agribusiness to range from $800 million to $925 million, the bulk of which is expected in the second half. Shares are down 7.5% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 6.5%.

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