News Column

Cargill's 4Q net profit fell 12%

August 7, 2014

By Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Aug. 07--Cargill Inc. on Thursday said its fiscal fourth quarter fell 12 percent, with its two biggest business units both coming in below their year-ago results.

The Minnetonka-based agribusiness giant reported earnings of $424 million for the quarter that ended May 31. For the full fiscal year, Cargill earned $1.87 billion, down 18 percent from a year earlier.

Cargill, one of the world's largest private companies, was hurt by several factors in its recent fiscal year, including poor performance in its energy trading business, industrywide issues that depressed corn shipments to China and economic chaos in Venezuela that led to effective currency devaluations.

"Though we look back on a year in which overall earnings fell short of expectations, we realized stronger operating results in several businesses including a turnaround in our global beef operations," Cargill CEO David MacLennan said in a statement.

"We also made good progress on moves designed to sharpen efficiency and support profitable growth in fiscal 2015 and beyond," he said.

Revenue for fiscal 2014 was $134.9 billion, down 1 percent from a year earlier. In the fourth quarter, revenue rose 2 percent to $36.2 billion.

Cargill's animal nutrition and protein business was the bright spot during the fourth quarter and for all of fiscal 2014. It houses global animal feed and meat processing operations, and benefited from recent acquisitions of feed companies, as well as strong poultry business in Central America, Europe and Thailand.

Cargill's biggest business by revenue, in grain origination and processing, saw moderate decreases in earnings for both the fourth quarter and year.

Its second-biggest business, food ingredients and application, saw earnings decrease for the quarter and year after four consecutive years of record performance. That business includes everything from corn sweeteners to brewers' malt to chocolate and cocoa.

Cargill's industrial and financial services business also had quarterly and annual profit drops due chiefly to troubles in its energy trading unit.

Mike Hughlett -- 612-673-7003


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Source: Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)

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