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Published: Saturday, 2/9/2013

The Andersons figures slip from record 2011; Company's Rail Group posts top gains

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The Andersons Rail Group had record operating income of $42.8 million last year because of higher lease rates, the company said. The Andersons Rail Group had record operating income of $42.8 million last year because of higher lease rates, the company said.
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Led by its Rail Group, The Andersons Inc. posted strong profits in 2012, and the company’s top executive said the company appears poised to have another strong year in 2013.

The Maumee-based agribusiness posted a profit of $79.5 million, or $4.23 per share, for 2012, which was down 16 percent from the record $95.1 million, or $5.09 per share, it had in 2011.

The company reported its earnings Wednesday after the markets had closed.

For the fourth quarter of 2012, the company had a profit of $15 million, or 80 cents per share, a decrease of 31 percent from the same period a year ago when it had profits of $21.7 million, or $1.17 per share.

Shares of The Andersons were down nearly 9 percent when the Nasdaq market opened Thursday morning. The company’s annual and fourth-quarter earnings disappointed some Wall Street analysts even though the company previously said it would be hard to duplicate its record profits in 2011.

Analysts had estimated The Andersons’ fourth-quarter earnings at 89 cents per share. Because of the missed earnings estimate, shareholders punished The Andersons stock at the market’s opening, pushing it down $4.25, or 8.9 percent. By the Nasdaq’s 4 p.m. close The Andersons’ stock had rebounded to finish down just 80 cents, or a drop of 1.7 percent, closing at $46.73 on trading volume of 191,000 shares. Average volume is 112,000 shares.

For all of 2012, the company’s revenues increased to $5.3 billion, up from $4.6 billion in 2011. Its fourth-quarter revenues totaled $1.7 billion, compared with $1.3 billion in the same period a year ago.

Chief Executive Officer Mike Anderson said he was pleased by the company’s strong year, especially by the company’s Rail Group. The Rail Group had record operating income of $42.8 million, which compared with $9.8 million in 2011. Its profit was significantly higher because of higher lease rates, the company said.

Mr. Anderson said the Rail Group was positioned to have another strong year in 2013, as was the company’s Plant Nutrient Group.

“We are expecting a record corn planting this spring. This should have a positive benefit for our Plant Nutrient Group, especially in the first half of the year and should further benefit our Grain and Ethanol Groups in the last three to four months of the year,” he said.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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