Updated from May 3
, a heretofore obscure agricultural concern whose shares have nearly tripled this year on speculation about ethanol, reported strong earnings and revenue growth in the first quarter.
The numbers weren't strong enough for The Andersons' bulls, however. Profit-taking knocked the stock down 9% in trading on Thursday. In recent trading, The Andersons was off $11.08 to $111.
The Andersons, which owns infrastructure equipment associated with ethanol transport but also manufactures turf products, earned $3.8 million, or 49 cents a share, in the latest quarter, compared with $1 million, or 14 cents a share, a year ago.
Two analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected The Andersons to earn 26 cents a share in the latest quarter.
Revenue was $281 million in the latest quarter, up from $259 million a year ago. One analyst polled by Thomson First Call had estimated first-quarter revenue of $262.9 million.
CEO Mike Anderson said: "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 under way. 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."
For the year, The Andersons sees earnings of $3.40 to $3.80 a share; two analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting $3.79 a share.
CEO Mike Anderson said: "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."