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Archer Daniels 1Q profit impacted by drought

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) -- Archer Daniels Midland Co. reported Wednesday that its first quarter profit fell 33 percent in the first-quarter due to the ongoing effects of last year's U.S. drought.

"As expected, this was a challenging quarter, with agricultural services negatively impacted by the ongoing effects of last summer's U.S. drought," said CEO Patricia Woertz.

Government officials rated last year's drought the worst the U.S. has experienced since the 1950s, with conditions affecting two-thirds of the nation. Farmers produced less than three-fourths of the corn the U.S. Department of Agriculture anticipated.

For the period ended March 31, the agribusiness company earned $269 million, or 41 cents per share, down from $399 million, or 60 cents per share, in the prior-year period. The company's revenue edged up to $21.73 billion from $21.16 billion.

Excluding one-time gains and charges the company would have earned 48 cents per share in the latest quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 54 cents on sales of $21.39 billion.

Oilseeds operating profit fell $229 million to $313 million due to weakness in the Brazilian market and depressed margins on cocoa.

The company's corn processing results rose $20 million to $153 million on increased demand for ethanol.

Company shares fell 57 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $33.01 in afterhours trading following the release of the earnings report.