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Archer Daniels Midland Profit Down 61% in 4Q

posted on August 8, 2008


ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Archer Daniels Midland Co. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter profit plunged by 61 percent, coming in below expectations even though revenues soared.

The Decatur-Ill.-based food processor and ethanol producer said profit for the quarter ended June 30 fell to $372 million, or 58 cents per share.

That's down from $955 million, or $1.47 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter, which included after-tax gains on asset sales of $616 million, or 95 cents per share.

The fourth-quarter 2008 results fell below expectations on Wall Street for a profit of 67 cents per share, according to a survey conducted by Thomson/IFR. The company's stock dropped $1.58, or 5.7 percent, to $25.82 during morning trading Tuesday.

Revenue for the quarter rose to $21.78 billion from $12.21 billion last year, however.

Net income for the year fell 17 percent to $1.80 billion, or $2.79 a share, down from $2.16 billion, or $3.30 a share the year before.

Revenue rose 59 percent for the year, jumping to $69.82 billion from $44.02 billion in 2007.

The company said 90 percent of its increased revenue came from higher prices for commodities. The remaining 10 percent of revenue growth came from higher sales volume for ethanol and merchandised oilseeds.

Chief Executive Patricia Woertz said it could be tough for ADM to see the same kind of revenue growth over the next 12 months as commodity prices begin to fall from their record highs hit in June.

But Woertz said she was confident ADM's ethanol business will remain strong, and the federal government will keep in place mandates requiring the United States to use 9 billion gallons of alternative fuel annually by 2009.

Political opposition to the mandate has grown as grain prices have risen, and some lawmakers say the mandates should be revised. Woertz said Congress seems unlikely to change its policy.

"We remain, I would say, optimistic," Woertz said.


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