Archer Daniels Midland ( ADM) swung to a fourth-quarter loss as a result of a costly settlement. The Decatur, Ill-based company lost $103 million, or 16 cents a share, in the three months ended June 30 compared to earnings of $95 million, or 15 cents a share, in the same period last year. Earnings for the latest quarter included a charge of $252 million, or 39 cents a share, related to a
fructose litigation settlement. Sales for the quarter improved by 20% to $9.69 billion from $8.05 billion, led by strength in the company's corn-processed bioproducts and agricultural services segment. Analysts had forecast earnings of 24 cents a share on revenue of $8.45 billion, according to Thomson First Call. "2004 was characterized by extreme volatility and difficult business conditions for global agribusiness. In addition, during this past quarter, ADM settled its remaining significant litigation." The company added that despite its legal troubles every segment saw year-over-year growth, with the exception of the oilseed segment, which incurred losses as Chinese contract defaults had a significant impact on the market as a whole.