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ADM profits miss expectations, as oilseed crush margins fall

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Agribusiness giant Archer-Daniel-Midand reported lower than expected profits, as the company reported weak results from its global trade desk, and oilseed processing profits little improved, thanks to lower crush margins.

ADM's agricultural services segment benefited from strong "strong global demand for US commodities, "which supported export volumes.

But the global trade desk lost money, thanks to lower marketing opportunities, and poor execution.

Adjusted profits rise, but miss expectations

ADM profits tumbled 41% year on year, to $424m, due largely to the one-off benefits from sales last year, in the three months to December 31.

Adjusted profits were up some 15%, to 75 cents a share, but still short of the 77 cents a share forecast by a poll of Reuters analysts.

Revenue edged up 0.3%, to $16.50 in the period.

Challenging conditions continue in oilseeds

For oilseed processing, the company said "results were comparable to the challenging year-ago period".

"In crushing and origination, South America results were impacted by reduced volumes as a result of the short 2016 soybean and corn crops in Brazil."

"Global soybean crush margins were negatively impacted by ample substitute proteins worldwide, despite strong global crush volumes," ADM said.

Improved ethanol margins

Results in other segments were stronger, with profits in the milling busieness supported by good margins and volumes.

And ADM's corn processing business continues to improve, after focus on wet-milling plants.

"Good performance in sweeteners and starches was driven by solid demand in North America and improved contributions from international operations," ADM said.

"Higher results in bioproducts were driven by improved ethanol margins and volumes as a result of robust domestic and export demand."

"Animal nutrition posted improved results, in part due to operational improvements in the company's lysine production processes."

ADM's profits from Asia rose, helped by its increased stake in the palm-producer Wilmar.

By William Clarke

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