Legumex Walker nets record earnings

Crop processor | New canola crushing plant 
in Washington contributes $1 million to earnings

Legumex Walker Inc. has posted the best quarterly financial results in its history.

The special crops and oilseeds processor reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $5.9 million compared to break-even results for the first quarter of last year.

“This is really getting fun watching the company take off,” company president Joel Horn said during a conference call with investment analysts.

“We are just five months into the year, and I can say at this time that 2014 will be the year that we show what this company can do.”

Legumex Walker generated $129 million of revenue in the first quarter, up 47 percent from the same period a year ago.

After deducting non-cash items such as depreciation and amortization and hedging losses, the company posted a net loss of $6.8 million, which is about the same as a year ago.

The company’s Pacific Coast Canola crushing facility in Warden, Washington, contributed $1 million to the bottom line despite operating at a disappointing 61 percent capacity during the quarter.

Horn said the facility is still struggling to get the seed supply it re-quires.

“It is simply a matter of inbound rail congestion that is keeping us from running at 100 percent of capacity,” he said.

The company acquired 40 percent of its seed by truck in April, up from 23 percent in February.

Seven percent of the canola crushed in April was non-genetically modified canola.

It is one of two commercial-scale plants in North America to receive non-GMO verification for its oil and meal.

Horn expects sales of non-GM oil to continue at a similar to higher pace for the remainder of the year.

In April, Legumex Walker signed an agreement with Dow AgroSciences to process Nexera canola and sell the resulting omega 9 oil.

Horn said the canola plant should be running at full capacity in the second half of 2014 and contributing the same or better EBITDA as the special crops division.

The special crops division achieved $6.4 million in EBITDA in the first quarter. Shipments were up eight percent over a year ago despite the rail congestion.

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