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ADM Profit Doubles on Gain, Ethanol Volume Falls

Archer Daniels Midland Monday posted quarterly profit that more than doubled due to a gain form an asset exchange, though its processing business were hurt by a drop in ethanol sales volume and declining margins in some lines.

ADM has been boosted in the past year by demand for alternative foods made from crops. But higher corn costs and lower ethanol volume cut profit in its corn processing business during the quarter, while oilseed processing profit was hurt by lower European rapeseed and biodiesel margins, the company said.

The largest U.S. food processor and ethanol producer, ADM said earnings rose to $954.8 million, or $1.47 per share, in the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30, from $410.3 million, or 62 cents per share, a year earlier.

The quarter included after-tax gains on asset sales of $616 million. Part of the gain was $440 million for the exchange of stakes in certain Chinese joint ventures for shares in Wilmar International Ltd., the largest agriculture processing business in Asia.

Excluding one-time items, Reuters Estimates computed earnings as 64 cents a share, compared with the average analyst estimate of 59 cents a share. The company wasn't immediately available to comment.

Sales and other operating income rose 28 percent to $12.21 billion.

ADM shares closed Friday at $34.05 on the New York Stock Exchange. Through Friday, ADM shares had risen 6.5 percent in 2007, compared with an 2.9 percent rise in the Dow Jones U.S. food producers index).

The stock traded at about 12.6 times estimated 2008 earnings, compared with a multiple of 16.4 for the index.

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