* Profit surges to $1.49 bln, four of five units gain
* Excluding Mosaic, earns $832 mln, vs $420 mln year ago
* Revenues in quarter rise 16 pct to $31.1 billion
(Adds details, analyst comment, acquistions)
By Carey Gillam
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan 12 U.S. agribusiness and
trading giant Cargill [CARG.UL] posted sharply higher quarterly
earnings on Wednesday, helped by strong growth from its leading
fertilizer producer The Mosaic Company (MOS.N).
Gains in Mosaic's business, tied to good demand amid rising
global food prices, were a key reason the company more than
tripled income for the quarter compared to a year ago.
But large North American grain harvests also helped push
Cargill's grain handling-related revenue higher, and the
company's origination and processing segment saw strong gains.
Overall, four of the company's five business segments saw
Crop prices have been rallying recently on strong global
demand and worries about supplies. Corn, beans and wheat prices
surged even more on Wednesday as the U.S. Department of
Agriculture issued updated supply and demand data.
"Cargill generated strong results across the breadth of our
businesses," said Cargill CEO Greg Page.
Minneapolis-based Cargill said it posted net income of
$1.49 billion in the fiscal 2011 second quarter that ended Nov.
30, compared with $489 million a year earlier.
Excluding earnings from its majority investment in Mosaic,
Cargill earned $832 million, up from $420 million a year ago.
Don Roose, president of the US Commodities risk management
firm, said Cargill's diversity left it well positioned to
capitalize on rising crop and food prices, even amid market
"Cargill, being an exporter, and having more vertical
integration, it gives them the chance to work across the whole
spectrum," said Roose.
Results in Cargill's food ingredients business were mixed,
with some units seeing better volumes and gains from risk
management activities and others pressured by higher raw
material costs,though overall segment earnings increased
Earnings decreased in the risk management and financial
segment, reflecting sluggish demand in range-bound energy
Still, second-quarter revenue rose 16 percent to $31.1
Cargill is one of the world's largest private corporations
and is an international producer and marketer of food,
agricultural, financial and industrial products and services
and is among the world's top grain processors and leading
exporters of grains, cotton and oilseed products.
While Cargill is private, investors have been piling into
Mosaic, pushing its shares higher as strong U.S. crop prices
lead to expectations for a sizable U.S. spring planting season
and good sales of Mosaic fertilizer.
Cargill owns roughly 64 percent of Mosaic's stock.
Cargill also said on Wednesday it was expanding its cocoa
and chocolate business in Europe through the acquisition of a
German chocolate maker.
Cargill is buying Schwartauer Werke GmbH & Co. KG Kakao
Verarbeitung Berlin, ("KVB"), which has two production plants
During the second quarter, Cargill agreed to acquire
Unilever's (ULVR.L) shelf-stable condiments business in Brazil.
The purchase, which includes leading brands in tomato sauce and
paste, and a processing facility, is expected to be completed
in the first quarter of 2011.
Cargill also has agreed to acquire a majority share
position in an Indonesian company that produces a wide range of
starch and starch-based products, which also is to be completed
in the first quarter of calendar 2011.
And Cargill is buying Calgary-based Agrium Inc's (AGU.TO)
AWB commodity management business.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam, editing by Dave Zimmerman)