CHICAGO (Reuters) - Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N), one of the largest U.S. processors of corn and soybeans and among the top producers of ethanol, said quarterly earnings slipped 2 percent as lower average selling prices offset increased sales volumes.
Net profit was $567 million, or 88 cents per share, for the fiscal second quarter ended December 31, compared with a revised $578 million, or 90 cents a share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 72 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net sales fell 5 percent to $15.91 billion. Analysts had expected $16.54 billion.
ADM said profit rose in its oilseeds and corn processing segments, but earnings in agricultural services fell.
Oilseed crushing and origination results were supported by improved processing margins and the absence of fertilizer inventory writedowns that weighed on year-earlier results. ADM also noted stronger oilseeds results in Asia.
Total oilseeds processing profit rose by about 10 percent to $352 million.
Corn processing profits grew on improved margins in sweeteners and starches and in bioproducts, which includes ethanol production.
Bioproducts operating profit emerged from more than a year of red ink as lower corn input costs and favorable gasoline blending economics bolstered ethanol margins.
ADM’s corn processing segment net profit was $290 million, up sharply from $29 million a year earlier.
Agricultural services segment earnings fell to $150 million from $462 million. Other operating profit, which includes ADM’s wheat and cocoa operations, increased to $178 million from $5 million.
Shares of ADM, based in Decatur, Illinois, were up 34 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $30.50 in premarket trade.
Reporting by Karl Plume; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and John Wallace