US agribusiness Bunge has reported lower quarterly earnings due to the effect of a gain on the sale of its soy ingredients business in the year-ago period, but said its first half results beat expectations.

The company reported net income of US$112m, or $1.00 per share, for the second quarter to 30 June, compared to $182m, or $1.80 per share, in the year-ago period. However, excluding the $111m gain on the sale of Bunge’s soy ingredients in the second quarter of 2003, the company reported a 58% rise in net income. Net sales rose 28% to $6.66bn from $5.18bn a year earlier.

“We are pleased with our strong performance in the second quarter of 2004. All three of our divisions performed well, generating solid bottom line results. Quarterly cash flow from operations of $404 million reflected our good operating results and lower agricultural commodity prices, which reduced operating working capital,” said chairman and CEO Alberto Weisser.

“Bunge’s results for the first half of the year were above expectations, despite unprecedented volatility in agribusiness markets and a disruption in soybean trade with China. Disciplined risk and logistics management and our balanced global footprint made the difference, giving us good momentum as we enter the second half of the year,” he added.