Self-titled "supermarket to the world," agro-powerhouse Archer Daniels Midland
So, here's today's farming news:
Quarterly sales grew 13% year-on-year; profits sprouted 77%; at $0.41 per diluted share, the per-share profits eked out an extra 1% for 78% total. (Ordinarily, when you see a result like this, you should look for that glorious event, stock concentration, to have taken place. But in ADM's case, the opposite proved true, with the share count actually rising 1%. In short, per-share results bettered net results through the "rounding" process that takes place when breaking billion-dollar profits down to the per-share level.)
The fertilizer for the growth in profits: revenue growth, certainly, but also a healthy rise in gross margins, from 5.7% to 7.4%. As we saw recently with wholesaler BJ's
But that's not the whole story, or even the best part. Free cash flow at ADM grew like Jack's mythical beanstalk this past quarter, rising 17 times from Q1 2004's $47.5 million to reach $857.2 million -- just shy of a Nucor
Now consider that according to information provided by Yahoo!
For further Foolish farming facts, read:
Fool contributor Rich Smith has no interest in any of the companies mentioned in this article.