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Cargill exploits buoyant US meat demand

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Booming demand for Thanksgiving turkey and beef in the US boosted Cargill's profits, while processing margins for cocoa also improved.

And the agribusiness giant reported rising earnings from grain trading and processing segment, thanks to good global demand for the bumper US corn and soybean crop.

The privately owned company saw adjusted profits rise 80% year-on-year, to $1.03bn, in the three months to November 30, although net profits were sharply down due to the sale of Cargill's pork and steel businesses a year ago.

Cargill reported revenues at $26.9bn, down 1% year-on-year.

Rising meat demand

Cargill's animal feed and protein segment was the biggest contributed to profits, thanks to rising meat demand.

"Thanksgiving holiday demand boosted whole-bird sales in the turkey business, while a more normalised cattle supply, optimized production and healthy consumer demand contributed to a recovery in beef from last year's low."

Cargill's egg business "continued to see strong sales volumes".

And the global poultry business saw rising earnings, helped by good results in Asia.

Rising cocoa crush margins

Earnings in the ingredients also bounced back.

"The segment continued to strengthen its operational efficiencies across the board, achieving good gains in sweeteners and edible oils in most regions," said Cargill.

"Cocoa and chocolate realized moderately better results as improved press margins in Europe helped make up for crop difficulties in West Africa that limited origination volume."

The company's grain trading and processing business was slightly up, with good demand for the record US soybean crops, thanks to "domestic and international growth in livestock production and reduced South American competition for exports".

By William Clarke

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