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Grain profits tough to track

Although Viterra’s books are closed, its owner Glencore is publicly traded, giving the opportunity to gain some insight into the way the money flowed.

Combing through them, ag economist Derek Brewin said he didn’t see irrefutable evidence of a windfall profit. But he also concedes he might have missed it.

Despite marketing less grain in the 2014 calendar year (which is also Glencore’s fiscal year), its Earnings before Interest and Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) and Earnings before Interest and Taxes (EBIT), which can be viewed as operating margin, were $1.209 billion and $992 million, up $765 million and $800 million, respectively.

Agricultural marketing revenues were down in 2014 by 16 per cent from $26.854 billion to $22.523 billion, but adjusted EBIT jumped significantly — by 332 per cent — from $198 million to $856 million.

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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