Corn processing results lead ADM earnings higher

by Eric Schroeder
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DECATUR, ILL. — Net earnings at Archer Daniels Midland Co. in the fiscal year ended June 30 rose 15%, boosted in large part to a sharp year-over-year gain in its corn processing operations during the year. Net income in the year totaled $1,930 million, equal to $3 per share on the common stock, up from $1,684 million, or $2.62 per share, in fiscal 2009.

Net sales were $61,682 million, down 11% from $69,207 million in the previous year.

For the fourth quarter, net income soared to $446 million, or 69c per share, from $58 million, or 9c per share. Net sales fell 5% to $15,703 million.

“The ADM team finished strong, capping a very good year with very good fourth-quarter performance,” said Patricia Woertz, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “As we begin our new fiscal year, our large projects are nearly finished, and we commit to use our strong balance sheet and cash flow to deliver shareholder value.”

Overall operating income rose 284% in the fourth quarter and 32% in the full year, as most of the company’s segments posted higher year-over-year results.

The exception was the Agricultural Services segment, where operating profit was $668 million, down 33% from $994 million in fiscal 2009. ADM said earnings from transportation operations declined on lower barge-freight rates and higher fuel costs.

The biggest gainer during the year was the Corn Processing segment, where operating profit jumped to $722 million from $185 million and sales rose to $7,942 million from $7,723 million. Fueling the gain was stronger bioproducts results, which benefited from better ethanol and lysine margins. Sweeteners and starches, which fell 20% in the fourth quarter, remained stronger for the year, finishing at $529 million, up from $500 million in fiscal 2009.

ADM’s Oilseeds Processing segment profit gained 9% in the year, rising to $1,400 million from $1,280 million in fiscal 2009. During the year, the segment benefited from better results within crushing and origination; refining, packaging, biodiesel and other; and Asia.

The ADM Other segment, which suffered a loss of $6 million in fiscal 2009, posted a profit of $449 million in fiscal 2010, led by improved results from ADM’s cocoa and flour milling operations and from equity investee Gruma S.A.B. de C.V.

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