MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill posted net earnings of $915 million in the first quarter ended Aug. 31, which was a 10% decline from the previous year’s first quarter. Protein demand boosted results, but trade disruptions did not. Adjusted operating earnings, at $908 million, were up 3%, and revenues rose 1% to $29 billion.
Adjusted operating earnings rose in two business segments, Animal Nutrition & Protein and Industrial & Financial Services, and decreased in the other two segments, Origination & Processing and Food Ingredients & Applications.
Within Food Ingredients & Applications, results for starches, sweeteners and texturizers dropped primarily because of lower volumes in Europe and North America. Performance in cocoa and chocolate reflected a softening cocoa market in several regions and higher operating costs in chocolate in North America. Trade- and weather-related disruptions continued to take a toll in the Origination & Processing segment.
Cargill in the first quarter helped its customers meet strong consumer demand for beef and eggs in North America. Protein in Europe and Asia climbed because of good poultry performance in China, Thailand and the United Kingdom. Despite pressure from African swine fever, Cargill’s results improved in global compound feeds. The business combined its advantageous product mix with effective cost management, according to Minneapolis-based Cargill.
“Our year started on a good note as we continued to help our customers navigate an unpredictable business environment,” said David W. MacLennan, chairman and chief executive officer of Cargill.
Cargill in the first quarter was active in two forms of protein sources: peas and insects. The company invested an additional $75 million in Puris, the largest manufacturer of pea protein in North America. The investment will help to more than double production by repurposing an existing facility in Dawson, Minn., to supply plant-based proteins, starches and fibers to food and beverage customers. Cargill also formed a commercial partnership with InnovaFeed, which produces protein from insects for feed. The companies jointly will market the feed to support the growth of sustainable aquaculture worldwide.