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Archer Daniels Midland Q2 profit plummets 89%

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Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s (NYSE:ADM) stock fell in pre-market trade Tuesday after the company said fiscal second quarter 2012 earnings plunged by 89 percent.

Archer Daniels makes its money by buying, selling, shipping and storing farm products and by processing commodities like corn and soybeans into products like livestock feed.

For the quarter that ended December 31, the company posted profits of $80 million, or 12 cents per share, compared with a year earlier profit of $732 million, or $1.14 per share.

Excluding the impact of an accounting method known as LIFO and other items, the company said that adjusted earnings were 51 cents per share.

Revenue rose 11 percent to $23.3 million from $20.9 million a year ago.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expected earnings of 77 cents a share, on revenues of $23.5 billion.

Shares fell 4.14 percent to $28.48 each Tuesday in pre-market trade.

"It was a tough quarter," chief executive Patricia Woertz said in a statement.

"The operating environment was challenging. Ongoing weakness in global oilseeds margins, lower results in corn and poor international merchandising results hurt our second quarter profits."

The oilseeds processing segment's operating profit fell 22 percent to $139 million amid continued weakness in global oilseed crushing margins, particularly in Europe.

Operating profit from its corn processing business declined to $133 million, hurt by a $339 million impairment charge tied to its renewable plastic production facility in Iowa.

Archer Daniel's agricultural services division, which includes merchandising and handling operations, saw operating profits fall 63 percent to $158 million, as lower U.S. grain exports crimped profit.

Gross margin slid to 3.5 percent from 5.9 percent a year earlier.

Earlier this month, the company said it would slash 1,000 jobs, or about three percent of its work force. Archer Daniels expects to save roughly $100 million annually from the move, which is anticipated to help boost its international competitiveness.

Quick facts: Archer Daniels Midland

Price: 40.51 USD

NYSE:ADM
Market: NYSE
Market Cap: $22.5 billion
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