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Archer Daniels Midland Co. Profits Up

posted on May 14, 2010


ST. LOUIS — (AP) Archer Daniels Midland Co. said Tuesday its third-quarter net income soared on growing global demand for grains and biofuels.

The company, based in Decatur, Ill., said it earned $421 million, or 65 cents per share, compared with just $3 million, or breakeven per share, in the same period last year.

The results from the latest quarter were buoyed by increasing global demand for U.S. soybeans, with AMD's oilseeds processing unit delivering $405 million in profit. Executives said during a conference call Tuesday that export demand was strengthening, and would likely remain strong.

Still, ADM's results came in below Wall Street expectations, with analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecasting a profit of 72 cents per share.

The company's shares fell $1.50, or 5.4 percent, to close at $26.22 as the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 2 percent.

AMD was buffeted by bad hedging bets made in the corn processing business, where profit fell to $45 million, a $101 million decrease from the same period last year.

Its long-ailing ethanol business continued its recovery, thanks to lower corn costs and better margins on ethanol. Ethanol producers were hit hard during the recession as job losses led to canceled vacations and falling demand for all fuel.

The company's CEO, Patricia Woertz, said ethanol margins had just reached the "break even point" industry wide.

Woertz said ADM is well positioned to compete as demand increases.

"I think we really have a long-term view here," she said. "We feel very good about our logistics and ability to buy corn. We're glad we're in the business."

ADM shipped the first commercial product from its joint-venture Mirel bioplastics plant as well.

Overall revenue at ADM rose 2 percent, to $15.1 billion from $14.8 billion last year.

As export demand improved, profit increased $44 million to $165 million at the company's agricultural services unit, which includes shipping. But agricultural services profit is still down $521 million for the nine months ended March 31, compared to last year.

 


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