Cargill reports dip in fiscal year revenues

by Jeff Gelski
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Cargill  
Cargill's  fiscal-year revenues dipped 11 percent because of lower commodity costs, a strong US dollar and divestitures.  
 

MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill recorded a rise in net earnings for the fiscal year ended May 31, but adjusted operating earnings and revenues both fell.

Net earnings on a US GAAP basis totaled $2.38 billion, up 50 percent from the previous fiscal year. Adjusted operating earnings were $1.64 billion, down 15 percent. The variance between net earnings and adjusted operating earnings included gains on sales of businesses and other assets, asset impairment charges, and a LIFO inventory adjustment.

Revenues for the fiscal year declined 11 percent to $107.2 billion, which reflected lower commodity prices, a strong US dollar and divestitures.

David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Minneapolis-based Cargill, cited a broad earnings improvement in food ingredients as well as the reshaping of the company’s portfolio.

David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill 

“We made important changes, adding capabilities essential to our customers’ success,” he said when fiscal-year results were given Aug. 10. “This includes more than $3 billion in strategic acquisitions and new or expanded facilities, as well as nearly $2.4 billion in divestitures. These moves are making us more competitive in sectors where we intend to lead.”

He added Cargill realized more than $425 million from innovation, primarily new products and services, and saved more than $200 million by increasing efficiency in its plants and supply chains and by scaling up global shared services.

In the company’s animal nutrition and protein segment, full-year results finished below the prior year because of difficult market conditions globally in beef through the first three quarters. Adjusted operating earnings rose significantly in the fourth quarter due in part to improvement in North America.

In Cargill’s food ingredients and applications segment, earnings rose across edible oils, malt, starches, sweeteners and texturizers. A global chocolate business acquired from Archer Daniels Midland Co. in the first quarter also had a positive effect. Salt for food and other applications posted “outstanding results,” Cargill said.

In the origination and processing segment, full-year earnings decreased significantly. Three years of good weather in major growing regions and sluggish global demand led to large stocks, weak prices and low volatility, all of which limited trading opportunities. The segment’s fourth quarter was not profitable as trading and timing effects in oilseed processing affected results negatively.

The industrial and financial services segment sustained losses for both the fiscal year and the fourth quarter, largely due to a fourth-quarter adjustment taken for counterparty risk in ocean shipping.

Cargill continued to stress sustainability in fiscal-year 2016. The company released a new forest policy to safeguard resources in supply chains, and it joined the World Resources Institute, a global research organization that seeks to sustain natural resources. Cargill led Food Chain Reaction, a global food security simulation that gathered more than 60 leaders from different countries and organizations.

In the fourth quarter, Cargill had an adjusted operating loss of $19 million, which compared with a profit of $230 million in the fourth quarter of the previous year. Net earnings on a US GAAP basis in the fourth quarter were $15 million, which compared with a $51 million loss in the fourth quarter of the previous year. Fourth-quarter revenues slipped 5 percent to $27.1 billion. 

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