MINNEAPOLIS – Cargill recorded an 8 percent gain in net earnings for the third quarter, but lower commodity prices and a strong US dollar provided headwinds for revenues.

Net earnings for the third quarter ended Feb. 29 were $459 million compared with $425 million in the year-ago quarter.

David MacLennan
David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill

“With agriculture and energy markets as tough as we’ve seen in a long time, we’re pleased with the gain in earnings achieved this quarter,” David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill, said in a statement. “Barring weather events, we don’t anticipate a near-term improvement in market conditions for agriculture. In these kinds of cycles, and we’ve been through them before, we focus on the levers under our control.”

Revenues for the quarter dropped 11 percent to $25.5 billion on lower commodity prices, a strong US dollar and the company’s Q2 sale of its pork assets to São Paulo, Brazil-based JBS SA.

Adjusted operating earnings in the company’s Animal Nutrition & Protein unit declined on negative conditions in the beef market, Cargill said. Factors that weighed on earnings in the unit included purchases of high-cost feeder cattle; smaller supplies of cattle in Australia; lower exports of US beef and less-expensive protein options at retail such as poultry and pork. However, higher earnings in the company’s animal nutrition business, led by the US and Vietnam, along with a strong performance in US turkey and value-added proteins, somewhat offset the lower earnings result, the company said.

For the nine months ended Feb. 29, net earnings totaled $2.36 billion, compared with $2.36 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues for the first nine months totaled $80 billion.