* Revenues excluding its stake in Mosaic up 21 percent
* Four of five business segments posted higher earnings
(Adds comments on staying private)
By Christine Stebbins
CHICAGO, April 13 U.S. agribusiness and trading
giant Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] said quarterly earnings rose 30
percent, lifted by its grain processing business.
Minneapolis-based Cargill, one of the world's largest
privately held corporations, on Wednesday reported $763 million
in earnings from continuing operations for the quarter ended
Feb. 28, up from $588 million a year earlier.
Revenue from its businesses, excluding fertilizer producer
Mosaic (MOS.N), rose 21 percent to $30.5 billion.
Cargill also recorded earnings of $342 million attributable
to its majority investment in Mosaic -- which it now classifies
as discontinued operations following Cargill's decision to spin
off its 64 percent interest in Mosaic, announced in January.
The spin-off is expected to be completed by midyear and is
viewed as move by Cargill to stay private. Cargill reiterated
on Wednesday it had no plans to go public.
Cargill, which operates in 66 countries, is a leading U.S.
grain exporter, biofuels producer and energy trader.
"Cargill posted solid earnings in a period of volatile
commodity markets and geopolitical change," Cargill's chief
executive, Greg Page, said in statement. "All of us in
agriculture are living with high levels of price volatility, in
which small changes in the quantity of production are having
dramatic impacts on price."
During the November-February quarter, for instance, corn
prices on the Chicago Board of Trade and ICE cocoa futures
spiked 36 percent, while soybean prices jumped 9 percent. CME
cattle futures were up 7 percent.
Earnings at four of the company's five business segments
increased, led by its grain origination and processing
division. Results were also higher in its food ingredients and
applications, risk management and financial services, and
Earnings in agricultural services -- which offers grain
hedging services to North American farmers and animal nutrition
products -- were down from a year ago.
"Although the earnings declined slightly -- they had a very
strong performance last year in the third quarter so part of it
is that comparative impact," Cargill spokeswoman Lisa Clemens
Cargill completed three acquisitions in the quarter:
Unilever's condiments business in Brazil, Royal Nedalco's
alcohol operations and a majority stake purchase in PT Sorini
Agro Asia Corporindo Tbk, an Indonesian food maker.
On Wednesday, Cargill announced it will be a financial and
exclusive marketing partner of tradable emission credits for
EOS Climate, a San Francisco company that uses market-based
incentives to prevent greenhouse gas emissions associated with
old refrigerators and cooling systems.
(Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Dave Zimmerman)