updated 4/30/2004 11:48:14 AM ET 2004-04-30T15:48:14

Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. reported a 94 percent increase in third-quarter earnings Friday on the strength of significant improvements in all of its major product segments.

Net income for the three months that ended March 30 was $227 million, or 35 cents per share, compared with $117 million, or 18 cents per share, a year ago. The results easily beat the consensus estimate of 27 cents per share from analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Net sales and other operating income totaled $9.3 billion for the quarter, an 18 percent jump over the previous year, the company said.

"The strong results this past quarter demonstrate the strength and balance of ADM's global franchise and the solid performance of our management team in a challenging business environment," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer G. Allen Andreas said.

For the first nine months of its fiscal year, ADM reported net earnings of $598 million, or 92 cents per share, compared with $356 million, or 55 cents per share, in the third quarter a year ago.

ADM is one of the world's largest processors of corn, soybeans, wheat and cocoa. The company employs more than 26,000 people and has more than 270 processing plants

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