Cargill quarterly earnings rise as crop conditions improve

by Jeff Gelski
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MINNEAPOLIS — Better crop conditions in 2013 supported Cargill results in the second quarter ended Nov. 30, 2013, as the company achieved a 36% increase in net earnings to $556 million, up from $409 million in the previous year’s second quarter. Second-quarter revenues fell 7% to $32.9 billion.

“Cargill posted a solid second quarter with earnings improved in three of our four segments,” said David MacLennan, president and chief executive officer of Minneapolis-based Cargill, when results were given Jan. 9.

In the Food Ingredients & Applications segment, demand in some product lines improved. Markets for cocoa powder saw firmer demand and sales volume. Increased U.S. corn supplies lifted domestic and export demand for ethanol.

In Animal Nutrition & Protein, improved profitability was linked to lower input costs, price risk management and a mix of bulk, specialty and customized animal feeds. In the animal protein business, new crop supplies eased last year’s high feeding costs.

The Industrial & Financial Services segment benefited from increased demand for ocean transport of coal and iron ore as well as favorable trends in U.S. steel manufacturing and processing.

The Agricultural Supply Chain was the only Cargill segment in which results decreased from the previous year’s second quarter. Industrywide buildup in oilseed crush capacity reduced crush volumes in certain markets, including South America. In North America, profits rose thanks to higher grain handling and export volumes.

In the six months ended Nov. 30, Cargill companywide reported net earnings of $1.13 billion, down 19% from $1.38 billion in the same time period of the previous year.
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