* Results include $169 mln from sale of Brazil meat unit
* Grain service earnings lifted by late N.American harvest
(Recasts first sentence, adds Cargill comments, analyst
comments, details on Cargill's business)
By Christine Stebbins
CHICAGO, April 13 U.S. agribusiness and trading
giant Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] said on Tuesday quarterly earnings
more than doubled, with all five of its business segments
posting improved results from a year ago.
Minneapolis-based Cargill reported earnings from continuing
operations of $729 million for the third quarter that ended
Feb. 28. The company also realized a $169 million net gain from
discontinued operations due to the sale of its Brazilian
poultry and pork business.
That brought net earnings to $898 million, compared with
$326 million in the same period a year earlier.
"We were able to benefit from the faster pace of economic
recovery occurring in emerging markets," Cargill Chief
Executive Greg Page said in a statement, adding that in
developed economies conditions were improving more slowly.
Cargill, one of the world's largest private corporations,
employs 138,000 people in 67 countries. It is a leading U.S.
grain exporter, biofuels producer, food processor, energy
trader and majority owner of listed fertilizer maker Mosaic Co
(MOS.N), a top producer of phosphates and potash.
"Our earnings were up from a weak quarter a year ago but it
was broad-based as all five (business segments) improved their
results," Cargill spokeswoman Lisa Clemens said.
"Cargill's performance was more optimistic than our
earnings outlook," Kenneth Zaslow, an analyst with BMO Capital
Markets, wrote in research update on Tuesday.
"There may be a potential that we are too cautious on our
earnings outlook for ADM and BG (Bunge)," he said.
Cargill and its competitors Archer Daniels Midland Co
(ADM.N) and Bunge Ltd (BG.N) are the world's top grain
processors and leading exporters of grains, cotton and oilseed
Among Cargill's five main business segments, earnings in
agriculture services were lifted by the late but large North
American grain harvest, the company said.
Results also improved in Cargill's crop origination and
processing as well as food ingredients and applications.
Cargill's large risk management and financial business
improved "alongside the recovery in global financial markets,"
although energy trading results "were not as strong as those
afforded by last year's extremely volatile markets," it said.
Industrial business results received a boost from Cargill's
salt business, as de-icing needs rose as winter storms
blanketed many areas of North America, Cargill said.
Closely held Cargill also said without providing details
that it "realized an increase in earnings" from its investment
in Mosaic, one of the world's top fertilizer producers.
Cargill holds a 64 percent stake in Mosaic, according to
SEC filings. The fertilizer producer provides one of the rare
public avenues for glimpses into Cargill's ongoing operations.
Mosaic said on March 31 that third-quarter profits more
than tripled, driven by improved demand for phosphate and
potash. For the quarter that ended Feb. 28, Mosaic posted
profit of $222.6 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with
$58.8 million, or 13 cents per share a year earlier.
During the quarter Cargill said it expanded or opened more
processing facilities for corn in Uberlandia, Brazil; food
ingredients in Wuhan, China; and sugar near Kakinada, India. It
also began construction of a big new sugar refinery in
Gramercy, Louisiana, and completed the purchase of certain
assets of Robinson Steel in East Chicago, Indiana. The latter
will increase Cargill's production of steel sheet and plate.
(Reporting by Christine Stebbins, editing by Matthew Lewis)