MINNEAPOLIS — Net income at Cargill in the second quarter ended Nov. 30 totaled $489 million, down 59% from $1.19 billion in the same period a year ago. In the first six months ended Nov. 30, the company earned $1.01 billion, down 62% from last year’s record first half of $2.68 billion. Excluding earnings from its majority investment in The Mosaic Co., Cargill said its 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, 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 realized much improved results in our risk management and financial segment.”

Mr. Page said 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,” he said. “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.”
Earnings in the origination and processing segment declined during the quarter, while the industrial segment also fell, reflecting a sharp decline in earnings derived from Cargill’s investment in The Mosaic Co.