June 12, 2012 / 12:29 PM / 6 years ago

Viterra profit doubles on higher shipments

(Reuters) - Canadian grain handler Viterra Inc’s VT.TO second-quarter profit more than doubled on increased shipments in North America, just weeks ahead of a pending takeover by Glencore International Plc (GLEN.L).

Viterra shareholders leave the special meeting of shareholders in Calgary, Alberta, May 29, 2012. REUTERS/Todd Korol

The best start to spring planting in at least three years in Western Canada, Viterra’s base, boosted results, the company said, and expanded planted area.

The company estimated that farmers in Western Canada planted 60 million acres in 2012, on par with historical levels and well above last year’s 55.4 million acres, when flooding took much land out of production.

It pegged the region’s canola plantings at a record-high 20.3 million acres, compared with 18.7 million acres a year ago.

Viterra, also the dominant grain handler in South Australia, estimated total planted acreage there to increase 5 percent to 9.8 million acres.

Net profit for the quarter rose to C$67.1 million ($65.2 million), or 18 Canadian cents per share, from C$30.2 million, or 8 Canadian cents per share, a year ago.

Grain handling and marketing revenue for Viterra, Canada’s largest grain handler, rose 33 percent to C$2.72 billion. The price of canola, one of Western Canada’s biggest crops, spiked during the quarter as drought damaged South America’s soybean crops.

Sales of agri-products rose 59 percent to C$691 million, as an early start to spring planting in Western Canada moved up the timing of seed and fertilizer sales.

Overall revenue for the company jumped more than one-third to C$3.55 billion.

Analysts had on average expected Viterra to earn 12 Canadian cents a share on sales of C$2.6 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Viterra shareholders have already approved the takeover bid from Glencore, but some Canadian regulatory approvals are still needed.

The deal is expected to close by the end of July.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Sreejiraj Eluvangal and Maureen Bavdek

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