ADM profit growth slows in 'challenging' quarter

by Josh Sosland
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DECATUR, ILL. — Net income of Archer Daniels Midland Co. in the third quarter ended March 31 was $362,891,000, equal to 56c per share on the common stock, up 4% from $347,796,000, or 53c per share in the third quarter last year.

Net sales were $11,381,150,000, up 25% from $9,122,841,000.

"We performed well in a challenging quarter," said Patricia A. Woertz, ADM chairman and chief executive officer. "We are particularly pleased with continued strong performance in our corn processing segment. Our results also benefited from actions to strategically align our portfolio, and our outlook on future opportunities remains quite strong."

The quarterly E.P.S. of 56c per share fell shy of Wall Street expectations, hovering around 61c. In New York Stock Exchange trading May 1, ADM shares declined 5%, to $36.60.

Operating profit of the ADM Oilseeds Processing segment was $169 million, down 6% from the third quarter last year but was up 31% for the nine months. Reduced softseed and biofuel processing margins were cited as pressuring third quarter results.

Corn Processing operating profits were $252 million in the third quarter, up 15% from the same period in 2006. Year-to-date, the segment earned $878 million, up 47%.

During the third quarter, ADM recorded a $53 million gain from the sale of its Arkady food ingredients business. The year-earlier period included a $15 million charge associated with the sale of the Irish feed business.

In the nine months ended March 31, ADM net income was $1,206,904,000, or $1.83 per share, up 34% from $901,811,000, or $1.38. Net sales were $31,804,111,000, up 18% from $27,48,775,000.

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