October 28, 2011
Bunge's third quarter period was unstable where managing risk in their agribusiness and sugar and bionergy segments showed to be challenging, Alberto Weisser, Bunge's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer stated.
However, the company expects a stronger fourth quarter and see optimistic signs in 2012.
He said that while the global macroeconomic environment presents uncertainties, there are reasons to expect resilience in their businesses. Many of their products are basic staples needed to feed the world's growing population. The USDA forecasts that global demand for soy meal and vegetable oil will increase by 5% and 4%, respectively. And global commodity stocks remain relatively tight. Even with a scenario of lower economic growth, the world needs additional supplies of crops, so prices should remain at attractive levels for farmers. Growing demand should encourage increased planting, fertilizer use and trade, which Bunge's global network is well equipped to handle.
Bunge also forecast a much stronger performance in their sugar & bioenergy segment in 2012. Sugar and ethanol prices in Brazil should remain strong due to continued uncertainty about the development of the Brazilian Centre-South cane crop and the need for the region to expand production to support global sugar and domestic ethanol demand growth. They are also on track to have 50,000 hectares of newly planted sugarcane ready for the next harvest, which will provide needed raw material for their mills and enable them to demonstrate the potential of this business.
"Our balance sheet is strong and provides ample financial flexibility. During the quarter we repurchased US$120 million of our common shares, bringing the total amount of share repurchases executed under our existing US$700 million programme to US$474 million."