Cargill Q4 earnings climb 75 percent

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Management

Cargill has reported a surge in fourth quarter net earnings,
reflecting an improved performance in the majority of the group's
business units for the 2007 fiscal year.

The leading agricultural firm announced today that earnings for the quarter ended May 31 2007 were up 75 percent to $628m. The results reflected an increase in earnings from operations as well as a decrease in income tax-related expenses, said Cargill. The privately-held company would not reveal a performance breakdown for its five different business segments, but said its food ingredients and applications segment was among the three segments that contributed most to earnings. The other two largest contributors were the firm's risk management and financial group, and its industrial group. For the full fiscal year, the company had earnings of $2.34bn, a 36 percent increase from $1.73bn last year. Revenues for the full year rose 17 percent to $88.3bn. Cash flow from operations increased 19 percent to $4bn. One driver for the year's strong performance was an accelerated pace of global economic growth, said the firm. "Above trend economic growth creates more opportunities for Cargill. We were well positioned to take advantage of it,"​ the company told FoodNavigator-USA.com. Throughout the 2007 fiscal year, Cargill said it reinvested the majority of its cash flow in food ingredient and supply chain capabilities. Among its larger investments were the addition of oilseed processing and refining capacity and corn sweetener capacity in China; the expansion of oilseed processing capacity in Argentina; and the purchase of a flour milling and mixing business and a grain export terminal and inland elevator network in Canada. In 1999, the company embarked on a new business strategy - becoming a "solutions provider"​ to its customers. As well as expanding beyond its traditional role as an agricultural commodity firm into specialty food ingredients, the move has also seen Cargill providing risk management and supply chain management services to its customers. In the full 2007 fiscal year, Cargill's risk management and financial, origination and processing, and industrial segments posted "record results",​ according to the firm. Its food ingredients and applications segment was also "ahead"​ of last year, while earnings in agriculture services "nearly matched"​ last year's performance. Cargill, which currently has around 75 business units, said that over 60 percent of these recorded an improved performance over last year. Within its food ingredients and applications segment, the company said its businesses in Europe and North America showed the strongest fiscal 2007 growth. The firm continues to cite its objectives for the future as growing through a focus on "customers, collaboration and innovation".

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