Cargill reports 41% drop in quarterly earnings
US agribusiness giant struggled with lingering effects of last year’s drought
Minneapolis-based Cargill, one of the world’s largest privately held corporations and a top commodities trader, reported $571 million in net earnings for the first quarter ended August 31st, down from last year’s record quarter of $975 million. Photograph: Reuters/Luc Gnago
US agribusiness giant Cargill yesterday reported a 41 per cent drop in quarterly profits as the lingering effects of the 2012 severe drought in the US reduced grain-handling opportunities. The company struggled with tight crop inventories in the world’s top farm exporter, which kept grain pricey and lowered processing volume and export demand during the summer months.
Minneapolis-based Cargill, one of the world’s largest privately held corporations and a top commodities trader, reported $571 million in net earnings for the first quarter ended August 31st, down from last year’s record quarter of $975 million.
First-quarter revenues of $33.8 billion matched the year-ago period.
“Our agricultural supply chain and food ingredient businesses were focused on helping customers and the company to successfully manage their raw material purchases and inventories during the market uncertainty that precedes the transition to new crops in the northern hemisphere,” Cargill’s chief executive Greg Page, said.
Quarterly results fell in three of its four business segments. Cargill’s animal protein unit – which had been under stress in the past year amid a 60-year low in the US cattle supply and high feed costs – posted a rise due to improved margins, the company said.
While earnings fell in the company’s grain origination and processing unit, it was the largest contributor to first-quarter results.
“The segment’s South American-based supply chains performed well, utilizing the region’s big crops to serve strong export demand. Conversely, in North American farm services, the remaining impact of last year’s severe drought in the US Midwest reduced grain handling opportunities in the first quarter,” Cargill said.
The company’s food and ingredient earnings were disappointing and its energy business, which includes trading in petroleum, coal, power and gas, declined. – (Reuters)