The Andersons Inc. reported a record first-quarter profit for the company’s Rail Group, but a delayed planting season and lingering effects from last year’s drought combined to drag down overall earnings.
The Maumee agribusiness on Tuesday reported a first-quarter profit of $12.6 million, or 67 cents a share, on revenues of $1.3 billion. Profits fell down almost 32 percent from the $18.4 million, or 98 cents a share, that The Andersons reported in 2012’s first quarter.
The company said the Rail Group turned a $14.6 million profit, up from $8 million last year. The group was helped by higher lease rates and more income from car financing. Another bright spot was in the Ethanol Group, which reported a $2.5 million profit in the first quarter, compared to a $100,000 profit in the first quarter of 2012. The company cited better margins for ethanol and higher income from the sale of co-products such as corn oil and distillers’ dried grains.
The Plant Nutrient Group lost $600,000 in the quarter on revenues of $112 million. In 2012, the group posted a $5.8 million profit on revenues of $175 million. The company said volume in the quarter fell by one-third, as weather delayed fieldwork. The company said it expects those volumes to show up in the year’s second quarter, and is still hopeful for a record planting year.
“Our Rail Group continues to perform well, as they skillfully manage their rail car portfolio. We are pleased with the continued strong performance of Lansing Trade Group and improved margins in the ethanol business," Chief Executive Officer Mike Anderson said in a statement. "The 2012 drought, however, continues to impact our profitability. As we have mentioned before, this will continue to impact our grain and ethanol businesses this year. While the Plant Nutrient Group was impacted by adverse weather in the first quarter, they should benefit from an anticipated record corn crop planting in the second quarter, as long as the weather cooperates."
The Andersons said its Retail Group lost $3.2 million in the quarter, including $800,000 in costs associated with closing the Woodville Mall store. In 2012, the Retail Group lost $2.7 million in the first quarter.
The company reported its earnings after the market closed Tuesday. Shares of the company’s stock rose 0.5 percent Tuesday to $54.99.