Archer Daniels Midland

Archer Daniels Midland Co. trucks are shown. The company, which has its North American headquarters based in Decatur, announced pending layoffs on Thursday. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DECATUR — Archer Daniels Midland Co. is laying off an unspecified number of workers, the company confirmed Thursday.

The Chicago-based global agribusiness giant, which has its North American headquarters and more than 4,000 employees in Decatur, said affected workers were being notified of “reductions of certain positions.”

The company in a statement to the Herald & Review on Thursday evening did not say what category of workers would be affected or where they were located. 

“This is part of an effort to ensure we have the right resources in the right places and continue to be an agile and streamlined organization focused on growth,” said ADM spokesman Colin McBean. “Our priority during this process is the respect and care of our employees and, therefore, we are not sharing any additional details at this time.”

ADM, which moved its global headquarters from Decatur to Chicago in 2014, has approximately 32,000 employees in 160 countries. It is by far the largest employer in Decatur, according to the city of Decatur's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which noted 4,199 jobs at the end of 2016.

The company, one of the largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers in the world, reported net sales $62.3 billion last year.

News of the layoffs comes on the heels of ADM's first-quarter results, announced in May, which reported revenue of $14.99 billion, which missed Wall Street expectations of $15.15 billion. Earnings per share of 60 cents also missed Street estimates by a penny.

Industry analysts had said at the time that ADM was being battered by huge harvests from around the world that were making it harder for its grain trading business to score profits. Savvy farmers were also upping their own grain storage capacity, making them less reliant on elevators operated by ADM.

ADM Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano struck an upbeat note as he addressed shareholders, however. He talked of taking “decisive action to pull the levers under our control” to shore-up the company's prospects. Those levers included cutting $300 million in costs, pulling $540 million in revenues from investments and selling assets valued at $700 million.

Luciano also said he foresaw a “strong recovery in 2017 despite the lingering tough conditions in the grain industry.”

ADM shares closed Thursday at $41.42, up 14 cents or 0.34 percent.

In January, ADM announced the sale of its Crop Risk Services business. The $127.5 million sale to Bermuda-based Validus Holdings was not expected to result in layoffs in Decatur as Crop Risk Services changed ownership, ADM spokeswoman Jackie Anderson said at the time.

jreidy@herald-review.com | (217) 421-6973

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Courts and public safety reporter for the Herald & Review.

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