Archer Daniels Midland Co., a major corn and soybean processor and ethanol maker, said its fourth-quarter net income surged even as sales slipped.
The company, based in Decatur, Illinois, USA, said it earned $446 million, up from $58 million, in the same period last year.
Revenue fell 5% to $15.7 billion from $16.53 billion. But, the cost of products sold fell 9% to $14.78 billion.
Operating profit in the company's oilseeds and corn processing segments increased. Operating profit in its agricultural services segment also improved.
The company is also laying plans to cash in on a turnaround in the ethanol industry, which is seeing profits return after a punishing period of high corn prices and lower fuel prices.
The company doesn't break out its ethanol results, but overall corn processing operating income increased by $151 million for the quarter, even as profits for sweeteners and starches fell $30 million.
With ethanol profits rising, Archer Daniels Midland said it will begin production at its Cedar Rapids, Iowa plant, which should be fully operational by the end of August.
The company said the profit boost came mainly from higher volumes and margins. Ethanol profits increased in the United States, as increased demand for soybean products in South America and Europe offset declines in North America.
ADM said Tuesday it will boost its South American oilseed crushing capacity by more than 25% by building a new soybean plant in Paraguay.
The company said that increasing demand for oilseed crushing in South America helped offset declines in North America during its most recent quarter.
The new plant will add an expected daily crush capacity of 3,300 metric tonnes. It will be located next to the company's fertilizer-blending plant near Paraguay's capital, Asuncion.
The project will create more than 150 permanent jobs, and an estimated 500 construction jobs as it is built.
Soybean production in Paraguay has been growing at an annual rate of 13% for the past 10 years, according to ADM. The company said it plans to boost its oilseed crush volumes at about double the expected market rate over the next five years.