US agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland has reported a quarterly net loss as its results were hit by a charge related to the settlement of a fructose lawsuit.

The company posted a net loss of US$103m, or 16 cents per share, for the fourth quarter to 30 June, compared to earnings of $95m, or 15 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Net sales and other operating income rose 20% to $9.69bn.

Net earnings for the year ended 30 June 2004 were $495m, or 76 cents per share, compared to $451m, or 70 cents per share, last year.

Both the quarterly and full-year results included a $400m charge ($252m after tax, or 39 cents per share) related to the settlement of fructose litigation.

“2004 was a year characterised by extreme volatility and difficult business conditions for global agribusiness. In addition, during this past quarter, ADM settled its remaining significant litigation exposures. Despite these challenges, we reported record operating profits for the fiscal year and a solid improvement in full year earnings,” said CEO G. Allen Andreas.