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CHS focuses on essentials for long term success

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

CHS, Inc. is continuing to take essential steps that ensure it remains strong and positions its member cooperative and producer-owners for long term success.

"Since 2011, we've laid a strong foundation for the future. We've made tremendous investments to serve you at home and to connect you to the global marketplace," CHS President and CEO Carl Casale told about 2000 member cooperative and producer-owners attending the company's annual meeting. "Now we're using our new market reality to make us better. We're making sure our system is stronger and that we are more efficient."

The CHS Annual Meeting took place on 1 - 2 December at the Minneapolis Convention Centre. With 'The Essentials' theme, the event included a review of fiscal 2016 results and highlights, along with official company business. Among those attending were 111 next generation men and women who participated in the company's New Leader Forum designed to enhance leadership skills and expand industry and cooperative knowledge. The two day CHS Annual Meeting also featured nearly four dozen educational sessions intended to provide business insights that help producers and their cooperatives succeed.

Casale said he remains optimistic about the outlook for US agriculture based on global population growth and food demand projections through the end of the 21st century.

"Cycles will always be with us, but as farmers, ranchers and the cooperatives who serve them, we've got plenty of opportunity ahead," he said.

For fiscal 2016 (1 September 2015 – 31 August 2016) CHS reported net income of US$424.2 million on revenues of US$30.3 billion, both down from fiscal 2015 and attributed to lower commodity prices and margins which affected significant portions of the company's core energy, grain marketing and fertiliser businesses.

In reviewing fiscal 2016 results, Tim Skidmore, CHS Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, said the cooperative "remains financially sound, with a strong balance sheet, and positioned for future growth opportunities."

Skidmore noted that during fiscal 2017, based on fiscal 2016 results, CHS will return an estimated US$337 million in cash to its owners in the form of cash patronage, equity redemptions to eligible members and dividends on preferred stock.

CHS Board Chairman David Bielenberg, a Silverton, Ore., farmer, told members that in down economic cycles it's important to "be open to possibilities we may have overlooked and to focus on what's most important. We also recognise that we don't have to go it alone. We can count on our cooperatives and their trusted teams to be there when we need them."

CHS business highlights for fiscal 2016 included:

  • The completion of the company's US$2.8 billion strategic investment in CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC, intended to create long term supplies of patronage-eligible nitrogen fertiliser for its owners.
  • A new coker came on line at the CHS refinery at McPherson, Kansas, allowing the refinery to process a larger variety of crude oils and deliver the best value to owners and customers by using the most cost effective crude oil available. During fiscal 2017, completion of expansion projects at McPherson will bring the combined production of that refinery and a second at Laurel, Montana, to 155 000 bpd.
  • CHS Country Operations helped producer-owners deliver more value through collaboration by combining operations of eight of its business units and by expanding partnerships with cooperatives in Kansas and Alberta, Canada.
  • The CHS canola processing plant at Hallock, Minn., exceeded expectations in its first year, further linking farmer-owners to added value in food and food ingredients.
  • CHS Business Solutions invested in partnerships that support member-owners including gaining 100% ownership of Russell Consulting, which provides financial and marketing advice, and offering The Land As Your Legacy® to engage farm families in business transition planning.

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