Corteva signals commodities hit

Reuters — Corteva Inc. said Oct. 31 that demand for grains and oilseeds could be hit by a delayed soybean planting in Brazil and cooling growth in China and emerging economies, sending its shares down eight percent.

Persistent dry weather has pushed out soybean planting and the use of crop protection products in Brazil, the world’s top exporter of the oilseed, while purchases by top buyer China have been erratic due to Beijing’s trade war with Washington, which has also hit growth at the world’s second-largest economy.

“Coupled with production disruptions and delays, recent softening in the Chinese economy, African swine fever and slower growth in other emerging markets are impacting the demand outlook for commodity grains and oilseeds,” chief executive officer James Collins said on a post earnings call.

The comments overshadowed a smaller-than-expected third-quarter loss that was fuelled by higher United States seed sales after historic floods in the U.S. Midwest delayed the spring planting season.

Corteva also said it expects full-year core earnings at the bottom end of its prior forecast of US$1.9 billion to $2.05 billion, largely due to a weaker Brazilian real.

The former agricultural unit of DowDuPont also tightened its 2019 operating earnings per share forecast to between $1.20 and $1.26 from an earlier estimate of $1.06 to $1.31.

Net loss attributable to Corteva fell to $494 million, or 66 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $5.12 billion, or $6.83 per share. The year earlier period included a $4.5 billion goodwill impairment charge.

Excluding items, it posted a loss of 39 cents per share, lower than the 46 cents loss that analysts estimated, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Net sales fell two percent to $1.91 billion, primarily due to weaker Brazilian real and euro, while organic sales stayed flat.

Analysts on average had estimated revenue of about $2 billion.

Total volumes increased three percent, while local prices declined three percent in the quarter.

Separately, Corteva said it would invest $145 million in its Midland, Michigan, manufacturing plant to produce 30 percent more spinosyns used to make insecticides.


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