Land O'Lakes reported record sales of $12 billion for 2008, in a statement released this morning. Net earnings totaled $160 million, essentially equal to last year's record high. The co-op also returned $98 million in cash revolvements to its members, also a record.
LOL did report a soft fourth quarter. For example, the dairy foods division was on pace through September, then declined $100 million in the fourth quarter. For the quarter, LOL is reporting a $33 million net loss overall.
"There is no doubt there are challenges ahead,” says Chris Policinski, LOL president and CEO. "No matter what business you are in, you can expect a bumpy ride in 2009.”
Late year declines in commodity markets resulted in $52 million in unrealized hedging losses for 2008. But Policinski says those losses should be largely offset this year as those futures positions expire and related product sales occur. Just the opposite happened last year, when LOL had $13 million in unrealized hedging gains for 2007 as commodity market prices soared.
LOL's sales jumped $3.1 billion in 2008. About two-thirds of those gains came through 2007 acquisitions in the crop protection business.