Archer Daniels Midland has booked a drop in first-half earnings on higher costs and an increased provision set aside to settle a bribery investigation being carried out by US authorities.

The company said today (6 August) net earnings in the six months to 30 June fell to US$492m, down from $683m in the comparable period of last year.

Margins came under pressure in the half, with a jump in the cost of goods sold. The company added volumes were hit by tight US grain supplies. As a result, gross profit fell to $1.56bn, down from $1.82bn in the first half of 2012.

The company also increased the provision it has set aside for an investigation by the US Justice Department into whether ADM breached the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 2008. In the first quarter of the year, ADM established a provision of $25m and, following discussions with regulators, the company has now increased this to $54m.

However, sales in the period rose to $44.26bn, up from $43.83bn in the comparable period of last year.

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