* Net $1.19 billion vs $954 million
* Earnings boosted by fertilizer giant Mosaic Co
* Energy trading helped gains in volatile markets
(Adds Cargill comments, byline)
By Christine Stebbins
CHICAGO, Jan 13 U.S. agribusiness and trading
giant Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] reported a 25 percent jump in
quarterly earnings on Tuesday thanks to its investment in the
fertilizer industry through its holdings in Mosaic Co (MOS.N).
Minneapolis-based Cargill, one of the world's largest
private corporations, earned $1.19 billion in the fiscal second
quarter that ended Nov. 30, up from $954 million a year
Excluding earnings from Mosaic, Cargill's results were
moderately below a year ago. Cargill holds a 64 percent stake
in Mosaic, a top global producer of fertilizers.
But the company had strong earnings during a period of
frozen credit markets and a huge retreat in energy and farm
"The global financial system was under significant stress,
energy and agricultural commodity prices fell sharply, and
recessionary risks took hold in developed economies in a
worsening global economic environment," Greg Page, Cargill's
chief executive, said in a statement.
Page said the company's strong balance sheet allowed
uninterrupted access to short-term credit markets.
Prior to the turn in the financial markets, "we had reduced
our debt levels and put more of our debt into longer
maturities," Cargill spokeswoman Lisa Clemens told Reuters.
ENERGY BUSINESS POSTS GAINS
Cargill, which operates in 67 countries, is a leading U.S.
grain exporter, a major producer of ethanol, a top energy
trader, among many other businesses.
Earnings in two of its five general business segments
increased -- operations that buy and process farm commodities
and operations in its industrial segment.
Agricultural services, food ingredients and applications,
and risk-management and financial segments all earnings fell.
Cargill's energy businesses, which includes trading and
transportation of petroleum, natural gas, electric power and
coal trading, surpassed last year's second quarter earnings.
Cargill is preparing for 2009 by keeping costs and
expenditures under control, and taking only the risks it
chooses to take, Page said.
"We do not expect Cargill to be immune from the economic
challenges in this environment," he said. "We will keep our
resources available to run the sourcing, processing, logistics,
transport and risk management activities."
Mosaic was one of Wall Street's top performing stocks
during the 2007-2008 commodity price boom.
Mosaic said on Jan. 5 it expects its results to be weak at
least through the third quarter. Cargill does not comment on
Mosaic's outlooks or performance.
(Reporting by Christine Stebbins; editing by John Wallace and