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A file photo of Mayo Schmidt, CEO of Viterra.

Troy Fleece/The Globe and Mail

Grain handler Viterra Inc. says its third-quarter net earnings nearly doubled to $123.3-million as it booked higher revenues on the strength of its agri-products operations.

The Calgary-based company said the profit was equal to 33 cents per share, an increase from $63.5-million, or 17 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts had been expecting 30 cents per share, according to estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.

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Sales rose 43 per cent to $3.55-billion from $2.49-billion – also beating analyst estimates of $2.96-billion in revenue.

The overall improvements were attributed to Viterra's agri-products division as well as its grain handling and processing operations.

In its outlook, the company said it was optimistic that volumes will remain "relatively strong" into fiscal 2012.

"Looking forward, there is a lot of opportunity for Viterra with a promising harvest in both Western Canada and South Australia, and strong market fundamentals supporting our agri-business," said president and CEO Mayo Schmidt in a release.

"To capitalize on these opportunities and drive value through our integrated worldwide pipeline, Viterra implemented a new global operating model around our three business lines of grain, agri-products and processing.

"This new model will strengthen and support our strategic vision now and into the future as Viterra continues to provide key agricultural ingredients to a growing world."

Viterra has a grain handling, agri-products and processing businesses with operations in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries.

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