(Bloomberg) -- Bunge Ltd. is promising investors a boost in profits, with the U.S. crop giant laying out a road map to turn around the struggling business for the first time since its new boss took the top job last year.
The St. Louis-based company is positioned to deliver baseline earnings of $5 a share as it focuses on cutting costs, divesting unprofitable non-core businesses and buying back shares, Chief Executive Officer Greg Heckman said in a call with investors. He didn’t provide a time frame to reach the earnings projection. The last time annual adjusted earnings per share were higher than that was in 2013.
The world’s top oilseeds processor is set to benefit from trends including the expansion of plant-based meat, which is heavily dependent on vegetable oils, Heckman said. The novel coronavirus presented a setback for edible oils demand -- people don’t eat as much fried food at home -- but orders from the food-services sector in North America are increasing again.
“We’re positioned to deliver baseline earnings of $5 per share and normalize crush margins,” he said. “And importantly, we believe we have great opportunities ahead of us that will help us grow earnings power well north of that level.”
Shares gained as much as 2.7% as the investor call progressed, reversing an earlier loss of 3.4%. Bunge was up 1.1% by 3:21 p.m. in New York even amid a broader market sell-off, with rival Archer-Daniels Midland Co. falling. Bunge’s shares have slumped 28% this year.