Archer Daniels Midland told investors that its global trade desk incurred losses in the fourth quarter, as it missed analysts’ estimates for the three months to December 2016.

Shares in US agricultural trader fell more than 3 per cent to $42.49 as it reported adjusted quarterly net profits of 75 cents a share against expectations of about 77 cents.

Reported fourth quarter earnings fell to 73 cents from $1.19 a year earlier. Adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter in 2015 were 65 cents.

ADM said its agricultural services division saw global demand for US commodities, and merchandising and handling benefited from strong export volumes in an improved margins. However, the global trade desk was hit “by poor execution and limited forward merchandising opportunities”.

Juan Luciano, chief executive, said the division was “refocusing the team” and was looking at “reducing costs and people in general”.

ADM is seeking to sell its corn-ethanol dry mills, but it said the bids received were not high enough. The company remains in talks with potential buyers, but with potential US corporate tax reforms on the horizon, it is also looking at different ways to structure the transaction.

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