A higher tax rate cut in to Corn Products International's ( CPO) earnings for the third quarter, but the company said good performances in Mexico, Asia and Africa offset operational issues in the U.S. and a big increase in energy costs. Corn Products earned $23.1 million, or 31 cents a share, in the latest quarter. A year ago, the Westchester, Ill., corn refiner earned $24 million, or 32 cents a share. The latest quarter's results were hurt by 7 cents a share because the tax rate was 45%, compared with 33% last year. Net sales rose 4% to $612 million from $587 million, Corn Products said. Corn Products, the world's top producer of dextrose and a leading regional supplier of starch, high fructose corn syrup and glucose, is forecasting full-year earnings of $1.16 to $1.22 a share, down from $1.25 in 2004. According to Thomson First Call, analysts were expecting Corn Products to have a profit of 26 cents in the third quarter. The consensus estimate for the year is $1.17.