Rising meat and ethanol demand in the US, and brisk demand
for its products in Asia, helped global commodity giant Cargill record booming profits,
despite the continued sluggish performance of its grain trading and processing business.
The privately held company said adjusted operating earnings
rose 50% to $715m in the three months to February 28.
Revenue rose 8% year-on-year in the same period, to $27.3bn.
Rising performance in
Cargill's food and ingredient business saw stronger
performance, with "in sweeteners globally and plant-based bio-industrials in
"Cocoa and chocolate earnings rose on the strength of the
European business, supported by origination in West Africa," Cargill said.
"The segment's Asia-based business rebounded from a
challenging year-ago period, lifted by good performance in corn-based starches
and sweeteners in China and edible oils in India."
Protein business sees
Earnings from Cargill's livestock and feed business grew "significantly,"
thanks to rising meat prices.
"Although below the earnings pace set in the first half, the
North American protein business continued to benefit from renewed consumer
demand for beef, which pulled more boxed beef and case-ready volume through its
supply chain," Cargill said.
"It also realized steady foodservice demand for egg
But earnings from feed sales were down year on year, thanks
to stiff competition in China and Russia, as well as bird flu and "disruptive
or unseasonable weather" in other countries.
And the company's industrial and financial services also
rebounded, helped by better market conditions for ocean freight.
Poor South American
crush, corn exports
Earnings from Cargill's trading and processing business were
down slightly year-on-year.
"Performance in South America trailed the prior year as the
business dealt with reduced farmer selling and slowed processing in Argentina
due to excess rain, as well as decreased corn exports out of Brazil due to last
year's drought," Cargill said.
But earnings from the Asian segment were up year-on-year,
thanks to brisk crushing in China, and brisk business for Australian grain.
"The North America-based business remained a large
contributor to segment earnings, thanks to steady grain export volumes,"
Still, oilseed crush volumes in North America decreased toward
the end of the reported season, ahead of the expected big South America harvest.