Archer Daniels Midland Co. one of the largest US processors of corn and soybeans and among the top producers of ethanol, reported a 2% decline in profit and a 5% drop in sales for the second quarter on lower prices.
The Decatur, Illinois-based company reported a profit of $567 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, down from $578 million a year earlier.
ADM recorded sales of $15.9 billion in the second quarter, down from $16.7 billion in the prior-year quarter.
Sales for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009 totalled $69 billion.
ADM said profit rose in its oilseeds and corn processing segments, but earnings in agricultural services fell.
Oilseed crushing and origination results were supported by improved processing margins and the absence of fertilizer inventory writedowns that weighed on year-earlier results. ADM also noted stronger oilseeds results in Asia.
Total oilseeds processing profit rose by about 10 percent to $352 million.
Corn processing profits grew on improved margins in sweeteners and starches and in bioproducts, which includes ethanol production.
Bioproducts operating profit emerged from more than a year of red ink as lower corn input costs and favorable gasoline blending economics bolstered ethanol margins.
ADM's corn processing segment net profit was $290 million, up sharply from $29 million a year earlier.
Agricultural services down
Agricultural services segment earnings fell to $150 million from $462 million. Other operating profit, which includes ADM's wheat and cocoa operations, increased to $178 million from $5 million.
Archer Daniels Midland, employs 28,000 workers and uses at 230 processing plants.