Corn Products International Inc. on Tuesday said quarterly profit fell, hurt by a charge. The company also said it was on target to meet its long-term growth rates.

Fourth-quarter profit fell to $14.4 million, or 19 cents per share, from $24.5 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.

Corn Products said the quarterly results include a restructuring charge of $21 million, or 20 cents per share, relating to its "manufacturing optimization initiative" in Mexico and South America.

Sales rose to $574 million from $542 million a year earlier.

Corn Products said sales of the high fructose corn syrup to beverage customers in Mexico rose despite the continuation of the country's confiscatory tax on beverages that use the sweetener.

The company said it is likely the current environment for high fructose corn syrup sales to the Mexican beverage industry will continue, leading it to expect "significantly better" results in North America in 2005.

Corn Products, based in Westchester, Ill., also said it expects 2005 to be a good year in South America and expects better performance in its Asia/Africa region.

Source: Company Release