Grain merchant and processor Archer Daniels Midland reported a jump in fourth-quarter profits, helped by US tax reform.
However, the one-off boost from the tax changes served to mask weaker operating earnings amid lower grain prices.
Overall earnings in the quarter rose to $788m compared with $424m a year earlier, however total operating profit fell 9% to $733m.
Among the areas of weakness was oilseeds processing, with crushing and origination results declining due to weak margins, despite strong crush volumes and continued growth in demand. Origination results in South America were especially impacted by weak margins.
Nevertheless, corn processing results improved versus the prior-year fourth quarter.
ADM said sweeteners and starches had another strong quarter, with solid earnings growth over the prior year in key regions.
At the same time, weaker results in bioproducts due to lower ethanol margins were partially mitigated by favourable risk management.
“For 2017 as a whole, we grew earnings per share, improved returns on invested capital and generated positive EVA. Looking ahead, we expect improving results through 2018 as our strategy advances. Our increasing international presence, and expanding capabilities in areas such as destination marketing, food and beverage innovation, and health and wellness, all help to position ADM for continued growth and value creation,” commented ADM chief executive Juan Luciano.