April 3 (Reuters) - Grain and energy trader CHS Inc on Wednesday reported its strongest-ever first-half profit after second-quarter earnings more than tripled from a year earlier largely due to strong results from the company's energy segment.
First-half earnings jumped 25 percent to a record $618.8 million, topping the previous record performance in fiscal 2008, the company said in a release.
In the fiscal second quarter, ended Feb. 28, Minnesota-based CHS, which is also the largest farm cooperative in the United States, posted a net profit of $275.1 million, up from $78.5 million a year earlier.
Energy segment profit soared to $234.2 million in the second quarter, from $42.1 million a year earlier, led by strong results in its refined fuels business.
Profit in its agriculture segment jumped nearly 40 percent to $50.4 million in the quarter. Higher crop nutrient margins and volumes and stronger soybean crushing and refining margins were partly offset by lower earnings in grain marketing, CHS said.
Higher grain, oilseed and crop nutrient prices and increased volumes propelled first-half revenues to $21.6 billion, up from $18.6 billion a year earlier.
The worst U.S. drought since 1934 slashed crop yields last year and sent prices to historic highs.
CHS' preferred shares on Nasdaq were 26 cents higher late on Wednesday at $32.18 per share.