DECATUR, Ill. – First-quarter profits at Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) declined 60 percent on charges related to the sale of a Mexican food company and soft demand for ethanol.

ADM reported on Oct. 30 net earnings for the quarter of $182 million, or 28¢ per share, down from $460 million or 68¢ per share in the same period in 2011.

Excluding the charges from the planned sale of Gruma, adjusted earnings per share were 50¢. Revenues were flat at $21.81 billion compared to $21.9 billion, according to the company.

“Our first-quarter segment results were mixed,” said Patricia Woertz, ADM chairman and chief executive officer. “Oilseeds performance was strong, the ethanol industry experienced sustained negative margins, and Agricultural Services managed well through a complicated quarter, challenged by the drought.”

Oilseeds Processing profit increased $116 million to $336 million, with year-over-year improvements in crushing and origination business in all regions. Crushing and origination operating profit was $256 million, up $150 million from the year-ago quarter on strong improvements by all three geographies.

ADM’s US soybean operations delivered very strong results amid good US demand and meal exports. In Europe, soybean and rapeseed crushing earnings improved significantly.

Refining, packaging, biodiesel and other operations generated a profit of $28 million for the quarter, down $27 million, with steady results in North and South America offset by weaker European biodiesel results.

Corn Processing profit was $68 million, a decrease of $115 million on continued negative ethanol margins which more than offset improved results from sweeteners and starches.

Bioproducts results in the quarter declined $179 million to a loss of $26 million. Weak US ethanol exports, strong Brazilian imports and slow E15 implementation pressured industry margins, according to the company.

A smaller US harvest hurt the company's Agricultural Services operating profit. Excluding the Gruma charge, profit was $224 million, down $99 million from the comparable year-ago period.