Cargill has reported $236 million in earnings from continuing operations in the fiscal 2012 first quarter ended Aug. 31, a 66 percent decrease from $693 million in the same period a year ago. Last year’s first quarter included an additional $190 million in earnings from Cargill’s former majority investment in The Mosaic Company. First-quarter 2012 revenues rose 34 percent to $34.6 billion.
“It was a tough quarter. With results down from recent levels, we’re focused on regaining our earnings momentum,” said Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer. “Cargill is backed by a strong balance sheet, with broad resources and capabilities, including those we are gaining from a diverse group of acquisitions over the past 12 months. We’re well prepared to invest and grow through innovation, our partnerships with customers and the resiliency built into our business mix.”
Page said the change in Cargill’s results is due in large part to the persistently high degree of uncertainty in the global economic environment, which injected turbulence into commodity markets and limited prudent trading opportunities. The prevailing “risk-on, risk-off” dynamic in financial markets also caused capital to move in and out of commodities rapidly, which reinforced taking a disciplined approach to risk-taking.
Results among the segment’s animal protein businesses were weaker due in large part to higher livestock and feeding costs in North America relative to domestic demand; exports remained firm. The risk management and financial segment was hurt by the stress in financial markets caused by growing economic, fiscal and political concerns on both sides of the Atlantic.