Multinational agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has reported lower profitability and revenues at both the Q3 and nine month stages of its current financial year, due to a “difficult operating environment”.

The business has posted net earnings of $192 million on sales of $14.8 billion in the three months to September 30th 2017, compared to $341m and $15.8bn in Q3 2016. Nine months in, net earnings are $807m on revenues of $44.8bn, from $855m and $45.8m a year earlier.

The company says a number of factors are behind the downturn. Its crop Merchandising and Handling activities suffered from lower North American grain and global trading with US corn and soybeans less competitive in global markets. This also affected Transportation with low US exports of grain and a slower start to the North American harvest.

On the crop processing side, the Milling and Other segment saw volumes fall, mainly in the US. While Corn Processing had a strong quarter, Oilseeds Processing results were down year-on-year with compressed global crush margins and weak South America origination margins.

There was a weaker biodiesel result, caused by lower margins, but the Bioproducts segment saw better bioethanol margins.

“Our third quarter results were below our expectations, as the operating environment in our Ag Services and Oilseeds businesses was more challenging than anticipated,” comments ADM chairman and chief executive Juan Luciano. “Through the quarter, we took several actions to be even more competitive in the future, including: restructuring our global workforce; reconfiguring the Peoria ethanol complex; working to complete several operational start-ups; driving additional asset monetizations; and further reducing costs through our Project Readiness initiative.

“As we move through the fourth quarter, we are starting to transition from a period of costs and investments in acquisitions, new innovation centres and new facilities, to a period of lower capital spending and increasing benefits from these investments.”