Archer Daniels Midland

(ADM) - Get Report

beat fiscal first-quarter earnings targets as agricultural services profit surged.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the Decatur, Ill., grain processor made $403 million, or 61 cents a share, up from the year-ago $186 million, or 29 cents a share. Revenue rose to $9.45 billion from $8.63 billion a year earlier.

Oilseeds Processing operating profit increased $71 million to $170 million for the quarter as improved market conditions resulted in increased operating profits in all geographic regions.

Corn Processing operating profit increased $154 million to $290 million for the quarter as Sweetener and Starches earnings increased $20 million to $113 million and Bioproducts earnings increased $134 million to $177 million. Increased starch, sweetener and ethanol selling prices contributed to the earnings improvement.

Agricultural Services operating profits increased $91 million to $111 million due principally to improved earnings of global grain merchandising operations and improved operating results of transportation operations. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2006, the negative impact of hurricanes decreased North American origination and export operating results.

"ADM delivered near-record performance in the first quarter," said CEO Patricia A. Woertz. "Our earnings, more than double those of a year ago, reflect strong momentum in our core businesses. However, we will continue to experience the challenges of dealing with volatile commodity prices."