Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to The Andersons 2018 First Quarter Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions)
And I would now like to introduce your host for today's conference, Mr. John Kraus, Director, Investor Relations. Sir, you may begin.
Thanks, Andre. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us for The Andersons first quarter 2018 earnings call. We've provided a slide presentation that will enhance today's discussion. If you're viewing this presentation via our webcast, the slides and commentary will be in sync. This webcast is being recorded and it and the supporting slides will be made available on the investors page of our website at andersonsinc.com shortly.
Certain information discussed today constitutes forward-looking statements and actual results could differ materially from those presented in the forward-looking statements as a result of many factors, including general economic conditions, weather, competitive conditions, conditions in the company's industries both in the United States and internationally and additional factors that are described in the company's publicly filed documents, including its 34 Act filings, and the prospectuses prepared in connection with the company's offerings.
Today's call includes financial information, which the company's independent auditors have not completely reviewed. Although the company believes that the assumption upon which -- assumptions upon which the financial information and its forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these assumptions will prove to be accurate.
On the call with me today are Pat Bowe, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Anne Rex, Vice President, Corporate Controller and Interim Chief Financial Officer. Pat, Ann and I will answer your questions after our prepared remarks.
Now, I'll turn the floor over to Pat for his opening comments.
Patrick E. Bowe
Thank you, John, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining our call this morning to review our first quarter 2018 performance. After Anne provides a business review, I will wrap up our prepared remarks with some comments about our outlook for the balance of 2018, and then we'll be happy to take your questions.
The first quarter results were better than those of the first quarter of 2017 but they were not what we expected. Our Grain Group outperformed their 2017 results and the Ethanol Group finished slightly ahead of the comparable 2017 quarter. Rail performed about as expected but below 2017 results and the Plant Nutrient Group continued to struggle with compressed margins across our primary and specially nutrient segments. There were some bright spots -- there were some bright spots across the company, however, while the net loss decreased by $1.4 million, our earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization grew by 29% to $27.7 million. In addition, on the productivity front, I'm happy to announce that we achieved our $20 million run rate savings goal one-year ahead of our target, and have set a new goal to save an additional $7.5 million in run rate improvement by the end of this year.
Our results were also impacted by some non-recurring expenses. We incurred $1.4
Director of Investor Relations
Patrick E. Bowe
President and Chief Executive Officer
Vice President, Strategy, Planning and Business Development
Omar J. Mejias
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