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AgTech Digest: ProducePay's Series D, Financial Results, Partnerships & More!

Discover this week's developments from the world of AgTech!

Good morning, readers. I am your host for today, Sepehr Achard. In today's discussion, we will be exploring the recent financial outcomes and strategic movements within the AgTech sector. Companies such as Yara International, Bioceres Crop Solutions, Green Plains Inc., AGCO Corporation, and FMC Corporation have recently shared their latest financial figures, which showcase the fluctuating landscape of agricultural technology.

In addition to these financial disclosures, the sector is experiencing innovative strides through partnerships, product introductions, and regulatory achievements. These advancements highlight the continuous evolution and significance of technology in agriculture.

Let’s dive into this week’s edition.

Financial Results

Yara International Reports Q4 Financial Performance

Yara International, a global crop nutrition company, reported a decline in its fourth-quarter EBITDA to USD USD 586 million from USD 1,067 million in the previous year. The net income dropped to USD 246 million, or USD 0.96 per share, from USD 766 million, or USD 3.02 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2022. However, despite the declines, the company has noted an improving trend in its EBITDA since the second quarter of 2023, along with a 4% increase in crop nutrition deliveries.

Furthermore, Yara International achieved a full-year free cash flow of USD 1 billion, indicating strong cash flow performance. The market outlook for the company also looks positive, with anticipations of volume catch-up in the first half of 2024 due to increased buying activity and rising prices. Additionally, the company has proposed a dividend of NOK 5 per share, in line with its capital allocation policy.

Bioceres Crop Solution Reports Q2 2024 Results

Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp. has reported significant revenue growth in the fiscal second quarter, which ended December 31, 2023. The company's total revenues increased by 49% to $140.2 million. Additionally, the company achieved operational efficiency and an operating profit of $16.8 million. The GAAP net income also turned positive to $1.2 million, which is a significant improvement compared to the loss incurred in the previous year.

Adjusted EBITDA more than doubled year-over-year to $24.1 million, demonstrating operational leverage and top-line growth. The company's successful HB4 Wheat harvest and new US Patent for HB4 Soy technology ensure protection until 2042, which is an advancement in the HB4 technology. Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp. has made strategic progress amidst industry headwinds, with advancements in regulatory approvals and increased hectares for soybean programs. These quarterly results are a testament to the company's growth and success.

Green Plains Inc. Results for Q4 and FY 2023

Green Plains Inc. reported a significant turnaround in its financial performance for the fourth quarter of 2023. The company posted a net income of $7.2 million, which marks a significant improvement from the net loss of $38.6 million reported for the same quarter in 2022. Despite declining revenues from $914.0 million to $712.4 million year-over-year for the quarter, the company's EBITDA surged to $44.7 million from $5.7 million in the same period last year.

Green Plains highlighted significant strategic advances, including transitioning to higher-value, higher-margin products. This includes a 95% utilization rate, advanced Ultra-High Protein production, and renewable corn oil yields. Looking to the future, Green Plains is optimistic about its decarbonization strategy. The company is venturing into sustainable aviation fuel and completing three significant projects to enhance its biorefining capabilities. Green Plains is poised for future growth and continued success with these initiatives in place.

AGCO Corporation’s 2023 Financial Performance

In the fourth quarter of 2023, AGCO reported a slight decrease in net sales. However, the company achieved record net sales and operating margins for the year. AGCO's full-year net sales for 2023 increased by 13.9% compared to the previous year, reaching approximately $14.4 billion. The company's reported net income per share for 2023 was $15.63, with an adjusted net income of $15.55, marking significant increases from the previous year.

AGCO's strong financial performance is attributed to its strategic initiatives, including the globalization of its Fendt-branded products and expansion into precision ag and parts and service businesses. Despite expecting more challenging market conditions in 2024, AGCO aims to focus on operational efficiencies and investment in technology to drive growth.

FMC Corporation Reports On FY 2023 Performance

In 2023, FMC Corporation experienced a decrease in revenue, with a 29% drop in Q4 and a 23% decline for the full year. However, despite this decline in revenue, the company's GAAP net income significantly increased by 291% in Q4 and 78% annually, largely due to one-time tax benefits. GAAP earnings per share also saw a significant increase of 304% in Q4, but adjusted earnings per share decreased by 55% in the same period.

New product introductions accounted for 14% of Q4 sales and 13% of annual revenue, setting a record for the company. However, FMC Corporation experienced a significant downturn in free cash flow, with negative free cash flow deepening in 2023.

DOJ Investigates Accounting Practices In ADM

The U.S. Justice Department is currently investigating Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.’s accounting practices. The probe focuses on the pricing practices between ADM’s commodities and Nutrition divisions and involves interviews with former employees. Although the U.S. Attorney’s Office is investigating the Southern District of New York, the full scope of the inquiry remains unclear. Neither ADM nor the Southern District of New York have provided any official comments regarding the ongoing investigation.

Funding & Investments

Pennsylvania’s 2024-25 Budget: Funding For Agricultural Innovation and Sustainability

The Pennsylvania Executive Budget for 2024-25 has allocated funds to support the state's agricultural sector. Key investments include $10.3 million for agriculture innovation, $3 million for food security, $655,000 for seed certification and pest detection, $5.6 million for dairy industry support, $5 million for a state laboratory, and $1.7 million for IT modernization at the Department of Agriculture.

Read the complete budget here.

ProducePay Secures $38M in Series D Financing

ProducePay, a company that aims to improve the supply chain of fresh produce, has secured $38 million in Series D financing. Syngenta Group Ventures is leading the funding, including participation from CF Private Equity and other existing investors.

This financing will help ProducePay expand globally and improve its Predictable Commerce Platform, which aims to reduce fresh produce supply chain volatility. The platform has already facilitated over $4.5 billion in transactions and is designed to enhance transparency and predictability, resulting in less economic and food waste.

To showcase the potential impact of the platform, ProducePay has partnered with Four Star Fruit, resulting in significant efficiency improvements and waste reduction. This success highlights the platform's potential for positive change across the industry.

Partnership

GRDC & Farmers2Founders Launch TEKLAB Grains to Accelerate Agtech Innovation

GRDC, in partnership with Farmers2Founders (F2F), has launched TEKLAB Grains. The program has been created to accelerate agtech innovations in the grains industry by providing a pathway program for entrepreneurs and startups. The program aims to increase grain growers' yield, efficiency, and profitability. TEKLAB Grains comprises a Pre-Accelerator Pathway for early-stage startups and an Accelerator Program for more developed agtech scale-ups. The program supports entrepreneurs and startups from concept validation to scale-up.

CropX Technologies Unveils Water Management Technology With Reinke Irrigation

Reinke Irrigation and CropX Technologies have partnered to launch Reinke Direct ET™ by CropX, an innovative Actual Evapotranspiration sensor designed to refine irrigation practices. This sensor is mounted on Reinke center pivot systems, providing direct, field-specific ETa measurements that enable accurate irrigation scheduling.

Reinke Direct ET™ aims to support efficient water management and uphold sustainable agricultural practices by delivering precise water usage data. Through this partnership, Reinke showcases its leadership in irrigation solutions while CropX demonstrates its commitment to advancing precision agriculture. In addition to Reinke Direct ET™, CropX also introduces its Actual ET sensor for comprehensive farm water management, leveraging technology from Tule Technologies.

Biotalys Announces New Academic Collaboration In The US & Europe

Biotalys, an AgTech company, has announced academic collaborations with leading researchers in plant pathology in Europe and the U.S. The company has a couple of R&D programs, one of which is called BioFun-4. It focuses on developing a biofungicide against Phytophthora infestans, an oomycete that causes late blight/potato blight. To support this program, Biotalys has partnered with the University of Aberdeen to sponsor a three-year PhD project in Prof. Pieter van West's Oomycete Laboratory.

The company's other ongoing R&D program is called BioFun-7. Biotalys has announced two new academic collaborations related to this program. The first collaboration involves the Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA) at the University of Lisbon. The objective is to isolate and characterize new strains of Cercospora canescens. The second collaboration involves the University of California-Davis and Prof. Ioannis Stergiopoulos. The aim is to perform a functional analysis of antifungal targets in select plant pathogens.

Biotalys is committed to building on the strong scientific foundation of its programs and technology. The company is excited to work with these researchers and looks forward to the results of their collaboration.

Plant Science

Vestaron Gets Emergency Authorization in Greece

Vestaron's SPEAR LEP bioinsecticide has received emergency authorization from the Greek Ministry of Agriculture to combat tomato leafminer infestations in Greece. This peptide-based insecticide targets pests while protecting beneficial insects, pollinators, and the environment. It has no known resistance issues and aligns with EU regulations to reduce pesticide use. Vestaron is committed to providing sustainable pest control solutions for growers.

MustGrow Biologics Gets Key Certification For Biofertility Products

MustGrow Biologics Corp. has achieved two significant certifications for its product TerraSanteTM. It has received The State of Oregon Agriculture Fertilizer Registration Certificate, allowing it to expand its market reach. Also, TerraSanteTM has achieved organic compliance certification from the USDA National Organic Program. MustGrow Biologics Corp. plans to commence sales and marketing efforts for TerraSanteTM in Oregon State in 2024, in collaboration with BioAg Product Strategies. The company is progressing with registrations in other key U.S. states, indicating further expansion in the future.

ADAMA Introduces Feralla

Feralla®-based products offer several benefits over existing Ferric-Phosphate alternatives. They have a superior rapid-stop feeding effect and extended pellet integrity, resulting in quicker mollusc mortality and reduced crop damage. Additionally, Feralla® leverages ADAMA's proprietary Desidro® Technology, which enhances bait palatability for pests, leading to increased effectiveness in pest control.

Feralla® aligns with sustainability goals by using a lower active ingredient concentration while ensuring high mortality rates and diminished feeding damage. ADAMA's commitment to addressing farmers' pest control challenges within a constrained regulatory environment is reflected in the development of Feralla® as a tailored solution. Anticipated regulatory approval for Feralla® is expected in 2024, following which it will be introduced in key European markets, including the UK, France, Spain, and Germany.

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