Cargill, an international provider of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services, has reported net earnings of US$489 million in the fiscal 2010 second quarter ended Nov. 30, down 59% from $1.19 billion in the same period a year ago.
In the first six months, the company earned $1.01 billion, a 62% decrease from last year’s record first half of $2.68 billion. Excluding earnings from its majority investment in The Mosaic Company, Cargill’s results were more moderately below the year-ago level in both periods.
“Cargill’s business and geographic diversity continued to demonstrate its value, as a different mix of business units moved to the forefront in the second quarter,” said Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer.
“Performance was led by our food ingredients and agriculture services segments, both of which were up significantly from last year. With the global financial sector in recovery, we also realised much improved results in our risk management and financial segment.”
Page noted Cargill’s first-half earnings were considerably better than the last six months of fiscal 2009. “Through November, Cargill’s earnings were up by more than 50% from the preceding six months. The pickup in performance reflects our continued focus on holding down costs, tapping both developed and faster-growing emerging markets, and reinvesting our capital in the future growth of the company and our customers. They, too, are working their way through the challenges of this economy.”
Volatile commodity markets
Earnings in the origination and processing segment declined from the record level realised in last year’s exceptionally volatile commodity markets. The industrial segment was down due to the sharp decline in earnings derived from Cargill’s investment in The Mosaic Company.
During the second quarter, Cargill opened its sixth animal nutrition facility in Vietnam, which serves aquaculture producers in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap. With joint venture partner Hojiblanca, Cargill began operating its new olive oil bottling plant in Antequera, Spain. The joint venture exports bottled oil products to European and overseas markets. In South America, Cargill opened a sizable expansion to its malt facility in Rosario, Argentina.
Cargill produces and markets animal nutrition products and owned pork and poultry processing operations in Brazil until an agreement was made in September 2009, to sell these divisions to Marfrig.