Archer Daniels Midland Company’s ADM Project Readiness initiative and three strategic pillars — optimize, drive and growth — are likely to drive performance in 2020. The Readiness goals of driving business improvement, standardizing functions and enriching consumers’ experience are on track.
Shares of the agricultural producer and merchandiser have advanced 15.2% year to date compared with the industry’s rise of 8.7%. This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock’s Value Score of B further highlights its inherent potential.
As of third-quarter 2019, Archer Daniels has prioritized 218 Readiness initiatives. These completed initiatives are likely to generate run-rate benefits of about $515 million on an annual basis. This positions the company to deliver $1.2 billion by the end of 2020. Further, these initiatives are expected to contribute $250-$300 million in accrued benefits by the end of the current year.
The company’s strategic pillars, guided and supported by the Readiness program, are focused on accelerating and enhancing competitiveness. We note that Archer Daniels has been significantly progressing on its three strategic pillars — optimize, drive, and growth. Under the optimize pillar, the company has been reaping benefits from merger of the Origination and Oilseeds business segments into a single unit — Ag Services and Oilseeds. With the help of this new business, the company has identified a wide range of opportunities to improve capital efficiency. Archer Daniels has already executed more than $200 million of capital reduction initiatives.
As part of ongoing efforts to optimize U.S. origination footprint, the company completed its earlier agreement with Cargill to exchange grain elevators in Illinois and Indiana. Also, it opened new state-of-the-art mill in Mendota, IL. It is an important milestone in the company’s initiative to replace older and higher cost plants with more efficient facilities. Archer Daniels is likely to see the positive impact of the efforts to improve long-term reliability of Decatur complex.
Under the drive pillar, Archer Daniels is gaining from improved analytics, technologies and processes. It is implementing innovative uses of AI, machine learning and robotic process automation to identify and solve IT issues, reduce costs as well as improve efficiencies. Lastly, under the growth pillar, the company is focusing on major global trends that have the potential to fundamentally change markets and solidify its global position.
Management is optimistic about strategic buyouts and leadership in key global trends like flexitarian diets, nutrition and sustainable materials. Moreover, the company is focused on making investments in assets and technological capabilities to serve customers efficiently and drive overall growth. Archer Daniel’s One ADM business transformation initiative also bodes well.
Clearly, the aforesaid factors make us confident about Archer Daniels’ performance in 2020. Further, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 top and the bottom line indicates year-over-year improvement of 3.8% and 29.9%, respectively.
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