* Q1 earnings $0.45 per share, top estimates of $0.35/shr
* Net sales $21.81 billion, exceed Wall Street forecasts
Oct 30 (Reuters) - Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Tuesday, helped by higher profit at its oilseeds processing unit.
The Decatur, Illinois-based company, one of the world's top grain traders, reported net earnings of $182 million, or 28 cents per share, in its fiscal first quarter ended on Sept. 30, down from $460 million, or 68 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding charges related to an asset impairment and Brazilian income tax, earnings were 45 cents per share. On that basis, analysts on average were expecting 35 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net sales and other operating income slipped 4 percent to $21.81 billion, but topped analysts' average estimate of $20.04 billion.
The four ``ABCD'' companies that dominate the global agricultural business - ADM, Bunge, Cargill Inc and Louis Dreyfus Corp - are emerging from a period of dismal earnings in which new competitors and volatile markets pressured profits.