February 9/Westchester, Ill./Reuters -- Corn Products International Inc. posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit for the second time in a row as it hiked prices to protect margins, and the company forecast full-year 2012 revenue above Wall Street expectations.

The corn refiner, which makes starches, sweeteners and food ingredients, managed to pass on higher corn cost to its customers in its latest reported quarter. Benchmark U.S. corn prices on the Chicago Board of Trade struck an all-time record near $8 a bushel in June, but are now holding steady around $6-$7.

The Westchester, Ill., company projected full-year adjusted earnings of $5.00 to $5.25 per share and said it expects net sales to reach $7 billion in 2012.

Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of $5.10 per share, on revenue of $6.75 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

U.S. farmers are expected to plant the most acres to corn this spring since 1944. The country is the world's largest grower of corn.

A Reuters poll of 24 analysts showed the average estimate for 2012 corn plantings at 94.2 million acres, more than 2 million acres above the 2011 total of 91.9 million.

Quarterly profit rose to $1.22 per share, from $0.67 a share, a year-ago. Excluding items, the company earned $1.11 a share, beating market expectations of $1.08 per share.

Revenue rose 13% to $834 million, but came in well below analysts' estimates of $1.65 billion.

A weak economy in Europe and weather-related issues hurt volumes in the quarter.

 From the February 9, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.