Cargill’s profits edged upward in the third quarter on better results in its food ingredients and applications business, but were only slightly higher than those of a year earlier.
The Minneapolis-based agribusiness giant reported $766m in profit from continuing operations for the quarter ended February 29, a slight improvement on the $763m it earned in the prior year period. The figures don't include results from Cargill's recently divested majority stake in feed and fertilizer firm The Mosaic Company.
Revenues in the third quarter were up 5% to $31.9bn, compared to $30.5bn a year ago.
The results are a modest turnaround after the company’s worst quarterly profit slump in a decade, when earnings dropped 88% in Q2 to $100m.
"Cargill's earnings strengthened in the third quarter, totaling more than twice that earned in the first six months of the fiscal year," said Cargill chairman and CEO Greg Page.
As a private company, Cargill does not publish its full financial results, nor give a detailed breakdown of performance across its five business divisions, but it said in a statement that earnings for its food ingredients and applications segment was the largest contributor to third quarter earnings, up “significantly” from the prior year period. However its meat business results, although improved compared to the second quarter, were still “well below last year's record level”.
Page said: "Although it continues to be an unsettled year for the global economy, we did a better job navigating the uncertainty. It reinforces our focus on creating value for our customers, improving our work processes and keeping our costs in check.”
For other business divisions, the company said that earnings were solid in agricultural services but lower than in the previous year, and its origination and processing segment “staged a sharp rebound” following its Q2 low.
Meanwhile, the company’s industrial segment was hit by lower demand for deicing salt products, due to an exceptionally mild winter across North America.