October 13, 2009 / 1:13 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Cargill first-quarter profit falls on Mosaic results

* Mosaic’s profits down 91 percent

* Lower costs help other businesses (Adds company comments)

CHICAGO, Oct 13 (Reuters) - U.S. agribusiness and trading company Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] reported a 65 percent drop in quarterly profit on Tuesday, hurt by plunging earnings at fertilizer maker Mosaic Co (MOS.N), in which Cargill is the majority shareholder.

Mosaic said last week that profit fell 91 percent in its first quarter as farmers, many of whom had stocked up on fertilizer earlier in the year, held back on purchases in the quarter ended Aug. 31.

Minneapolis-based Cargill, one of the world’s largest private corporations, said it earned $525 million in its fiscal first quarter that ended Aug. 31, compared to $1.49 billion a year earlier.

Earnings in agriculture services and food ingredients and applications were up from a year earlier, due in part to lower raw material costs, the company said.

Cargill, which operates in dozens of countries, is a leading U.S. grain exporter, a major producer of ethanol, and a top energy trader, among other businesses.

Good performance in its energy business and a return to profitability in its financial investment units helped lift results in the company’s risk management and financial businesses, Cargill said. (Reporting by Brad Dorfman, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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