Cargill earnings rise in fiscal year despite drought
by Jeff Gelski
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MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill’s net earnings almost doubled in the fiscal year ended May 31, rising to $2.31 billion from $1.17 billion in the previous fiscal year due to strong contributions from the origination and processing segment and the food ingredients and applications segment, the Minneapolis-based company reported Aug. 7.
Revenues for the fiscal year were $136.7 billion, up 2% from $133.9 billion. Cash flow from operations was $4.18 billion, a 19% increase from $3.51 billion in the previous fiscal year.
“Nearly all of our business units were profitable, and more than two-thirds exceeded year-ago results,” said Greg Page, chairman and chief executive officer of Cargill. “We did a better job of delivering innovations and solutions that help our customers succeed. We also drew on sourcing, logistical and risk management skills to navigate volatile commodity markets in the first half that were driven by severe weather.”
The origination and processing segment was the largest contributor to earnings. Cargill said its global footprint and strength in market analysis, logistics and risk management overcame supply challenges brought on by weather disruptions and tight stocks.
Combined earnings among the segment’s food ingredient businesses edged ahead of last year’s record although the effects of the North American drought and high commodity prices challenged many units. Sweeteners, starches and cocoa in several countries had strong performances. Combined earnings among the animal protein businesses in the segment were down from last year.
Results for the agriculture services segment were improved from last year. The integration of Provimi, a global animal nutrition business that was acquired in 2012, accelerated earnings growth in global animal nutrition.
Results in North American farm services were down from the previous year. Drought-affected, smaller crops had a negative effect. A cold, wet spring in the U.S. Midwest delayed plantings and input purchases, which also hampered results.
Fiscal-year earnings in the risk management and financial segment rose. Fiscal-year earnings in the industrial segment were above earnings of the previous year although fourth-quarter earnings decreased when compared to the previous year’s fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Cargill company-wide had net earnings of $483 million, up from $73 million in the previous year’s fourth quarter, and revenues of $35.4 billion, up 4% from $34 billion.
Cargill has $2.6 billion of agricultural, food and energy projects under construction, near completion or recently opened in 14 countries. They include a poultry further-processing plant in Efremov, Russia; an integrated poultry production and processing complex in the Anhui province in China; additional poultry processing capacity in Korat, Thailand; an animal nutrition facility in South Korea; a corn processing plant in Brazil’s southern state of Paraná, a cocoa processing plant in the East Java province in Indonesia; a bio-refinery campus in Fort Dodge, Iowa; and a modernization and expansion project at a multi-seed processing plant in North Dakota.