The Minnesota-based company reported $766m in earnings from continuing operations in the fiscal 2012 third quarter ended 29 February 2012, which is essentially equal to earnings during the same period last year and a considerable increase from earnings of only $100m in the second quarter.
This brought earnings from continuing operations to $1.1bn in the first nine months, which is still down on the $2.29bn earnings in the same period last year, but a big improvement from the $336m achieved in the first six months of this year. Consolidated revenues were up 5% to $31.9bn in the third quarter, with nine month revenues totalling $99.8bn, up 18% from $84.7bn in the same period last year.
“Cargill’s earnings strengthened in the third quarter, totalling more than twice that earned in the first six months of the fiscal year,” said Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer. “Although it continues to be an unsettled year for the global economy, we did a better job of navigating the uncertainty. It reinforces our focus on creating value for our customers, improving our work processes and keeping our costs in check.”
The company said that its meat businesses saw some improvement on the second quarter, but was still far behind its record performance last year. It blamed the sluggish performance on the cyclical downturn in North American beef.
Its food ingredients and applications sector, on the other hand, performed strongly and was the biggest contributor to the improved results. “Within the segment, the food ingredients businesses posted a record third quarter on a combined basis,” it said.
Agricultural services also generated good earnings, driven by an improvement in global animal nutrition operations, although the company said that this was offset, in part, by decreased income from North American farm services.