Home > Investors > Shareholder Reports > 2011 Annual Report > Letter to Shareholders > Driving earnings growth and capital returns; ensuring financial strength

Driving earnings growth and capital returns; ensuring financial strength

To advance our strategy, we are focused both on earnings growth and on driving more robust shareholder returns. In 2011, ADM invested $1.5 billion in capital spending and acquisitions to support growth around the world. And, we achieved a 250-basis-point spread over our weighted average cost of capital—exceeding our 200-basis-point long-term objective—and saw a 12.3 percent return on equity, consistent with our 12 to 14 percent long-term goal range. To bring greater consistency to our returns, we will pursue a portfolio approach of investing in projects that deliver a mix of short- and longer-term returns. We will focus on projects outside of the United States, and on U.S. projects that support exports. We will also continue to improve our capital-allocation process and management of working capital.

As we invest for profitable growth, we must also manage volatile commodity prices while maintaining financial strength. Doing so is a signature ADM capability. In 2011, we raised more than $4 billion of liquidity to support our business. And, we completed a successful remarketing of $1.75 billion in debt, and issued $1.75 billion of new equity, thereby lowering our interest costs and increasing our financial flexibility.

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