The Andersons, Inc.
The Grain & Ethanol Group achieved operating income of $1.8 million in the most recent quarter, slightly higher than its year-earlier result. Total revenues of $128.6 million for the period were $7.7 million higher than the first quarter of 2005. The number of bushels handled by the group's elevators was higher than a year ago, but total gross profit dropped significantly due to weak domestic demand for soft red wheat. This decline and increases in labor costs were offset by strong earnings from Lansing Trade Group, LLC, the group's commodity trading affiliate, and receipt of a development fee earned in connection with the creation of a new limited liability company which broke ground last week to start construction of an ethanol production plant in Clymers, Indiana. Construction of another ethanol plant, located in Albion, Michigan, is progressing on schedule and expected to begin producing ethanol in the third quarter of this year. The Andersons is a significant investor in both of these projects and will provide general management, marketing, and risk management services to them and to other ethanol producers as well.
The Plant Nutrient Group incurred an operating loss of $1.2 million on $46.0 million of revenues in the first quarter of 2006. In this highly seasonal industry, the first quarter is typically a loss period. Last year the group incurred an operating loss of $0.8 million during the quarter with revenues of $44.1 million. The revenue increase was primarily due to higher prices for its products, most of which were well above first quarter 2005 levels. Recently, prices for some basic material product lines, particularly nitrogen, have begun to decline, causing customers to defer purchases until the second quarter, the primary planting season. As a result, tonnage volume declined, contributing to a drop in the group's gross profit as compared to the first quarter of 2005. In most of the core markets served by the group, the second quarter is a primary consumption period, and at this time, nutrient application and planting is well underway.
The Rail Group's operating income of $6.2 million in the first quarter of 2006 was $2.6 million higher than it earned in the same three-month period a year ago. Revenues of $34.4 million for the quarter were up $16.7 million. Although the group sold some railcars during the quarter, its total fleet at the end of March totaled about 3,100 more railcars than a year ago, and the utilization rate (the percentage of the fleet in service at the end of the period) had also increased. Operating income from the group's railcar repair and manufacturing businesses was also higher in the first quarter than the comparable three months last year. The group's operation in Mississippi was kept very busy repairing railcars damaged by last summer's hurricanes, and the fluid filtration product lines acquired during 2005 continued to be additive to the Rail Group's overall performance.
The first three months of the year are a key selling period for the Turf and Specialty Group's lawn products business. This year the group achieved operating income of $2.1 million on $39.5 million of revenues in the first quarter. Last year, it reported $1.1 million of income and $40.9 million of revenues for the period. Total lawn products tons sold were lower in the first quarter this year, in part due to some restructuring actions undertaken last year which also lowered working capital requirements and reduced expenses. Tons sold to accounts in the group's professional sector during the first three months of 2006 were higher than last year.
The Retail Group reported revenues of $32.1 million for the first quarter of 2006, a decrease of 8.4 percent in same-store sales from the same period in 2005, in part due to a mild winter and the timing of Easter this year. Some food product categories achieved growth during the quarter as did the addition of coffee bars at two of the group's Toledo area stores. For the three month period, the Retail Group incurred an operating loss of $2.4 million this year, slightly more than the $2.1 million it lost in the first quarter of 2005.
"Historically the first quarter has been a loss period for our company. Last year we broke out of that pattern and reported net income of $1 million for the quarter. This year we improved further, achieving net income of $3.8 million, or 49 cents per diluted share," said President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Anderson. "Our rail and turf businesses both achieved higher income in the first quarter this year, as did Lansing Trade Group, our commodity trading affiliate. Construction on two new ethanol plants in Michigan and Indiana is underway. We're actively pursuing growth on several fronts: our much noted entry into the ethanol industry, continued growth in rail and commodity trading, development of new products, and process improvement initiatives in numerous areas of the company. All considered, I'm optimistic about our company's future."
Mr. Anderson also stated, "Looking specifically at our earnings prospects for the full year, numerous factors will have a bearing on the outcome: weather patterns during the important agricultural planting and growing season within our region, nutrient and energy commodity prices, continued favorable railcar values and lease rates, retail and professional demand for lawn and garden products, and a successful launch of the new ethanol plant in Albion, Michigan. In light of these variables, there is a fairly wide range in our full-year earnings projections. At this time, we anticipate 2006 earnings per diluted share in a range from $3.40 to $3.80 per diluted share. As we move through the year, we should be able to narrow this spread."
The company will host a webcast on Thursday, May 4, 2006 at 11:00 A.M. ET, to discuss its performance. This can be accessed under the heading "Financial Information" on its website at www.andersonsinc.com.
The Andersons, Inc. is a diversified company with interests in the grain & ethanol and plant nutrient sectors of U.S. agriculture, as well as in rail leasing, industrial products formulation, turf products production, and general merchandise retailing. Founded in Maumee, Ohio, in 1947, the company now has operations in seven U.S. states plus rail equipment leasing interests in Canada and Mexico.
This release contains forward-looking statements. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Without limitation, these risks include economic, weather and regulatory conditions, competition, and the risk factors set forth from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although the Company believes that the assumptions upon which the financial information and its forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these assumptions will prove to be correct.
The Andersons, Inc. is located on the Internet at www.andersonsinc.com The Andersons, Inc. Consolidated Statements of Income (Unaudited) Three Months ended March 31 (in thousands, except for per share amounts) 2006 2005 Sales and merchandising revenues $280,658 $258,656 Cost of sales and merchandising revenues 239,173 218,697 Gross profit 41,485 39,959 Operating, administrative and general expenses 37,906 36,901 Interest expense 4,194 2,950 Other income, net 3,059 1,079 Equity in earnings of affiliates 3,553 446 Income before income taxes 5,997 1,633 Income taxes 2,162 599 Net income $3,835 $1,034 Per common share: Basic earnings $0.51 $0.14 Diluted earnings $0.49 $0.14 Dividends paid $0.09 $0.08 Weighted average shares outstanding-basic 7,545 7,373 Weighted average shares outstanding-diluted 7,819 7,643 The Andersons, Inc. Consolidated Balance Sheets (Unaudited) March 31 Dec. 31 March 31 (in thousands) 2006 2005 2005 Assets Current assets: Cash and cash equivalents $15,821 $13,876 $6,138 Restricted cash 3,856 3,936 1,482 Accounts receivable (net) and margin deposits 100,063 83,291 90,778 Inventories 262,198 240,806 270,650 Other current assets 32,289 30,632 31,114 Total current assets 414,227 372,541 400,162 Investments and other assets 63,506 39,008 20,949 Railcar assets leased to others (net) 131,991 131,097 113,318 Property, plant and equipment (net) 90,943 91,498 91,401 $700,667 $634,144 $625,830 Liabilities and shareholders' equity Current liabilities: Short-term borrowings $132,100 $12,400 $114,400 Other current liabilities 209,815 263,922 196,959 Total current liabilities 341,915 276,322 311,359 Deferred items and other long-term liabilities 31,693 30,896 29,100 Long-term debt non-recourse 86,269 88,714 61,465 Long-term debt 77,217 79,329 89,151 Shareholders' equity 163,573 158,883 134,755 $700,667 $634,144 $625,830 Segment Data Grain & Plant Turf & Quarter ended March 31, 2006 Ethanol Nutrient Rail Specialty Revenues from external customers $128,625 $46,033 $34,383 $39,505 Gross Profit 6,945 4,133 14,092 6,635 Other income / Equity in earnings of affiliates 5,641 101 120 363 Operating income (loss) 1,780 (1,235) 6,218 2,149 Quarter ended March 31, 2005 Revenues from external customers $120,937 $44,071 $17,705 $40,891 Gross Profit 10,199 5,582 8,515 5,858 Other income / Equity in earnings of affiliates 681 227 185 168 Operating income (loss) 1,738 (787) 3,640 1,077 Segment Data Quarter ended March 31, 2006 Retail Other Total Revenues from external customers $32,112 $- $280,658 Gross Profit 9,680 - 41,485 Other income / Equity in earnings of affiliates 164 223 6,612 Operating income (loss) (2,441) (474) 5,997 Quarter ended March 31, 2005 Revenues from external customers $35,052 $- $258,656 Gross Profit 9,805 - 39,959 Other income / Equity in earnings of affiliates 132 132 1,525 Operating income (loss) (2,098) (1,937) 1,633
SOURCE: The Andersons, Inc.
CONTACT: Gary Smith of The Andersons, Inc., +1-419-891-6417
Web site: http://www.andersonsinc.com/