Cargill posts operating loss

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(Reuters) —Cargill posted a profit in the latest quarter, boosted by special gains that offset poor results from trading and oilseed processing.


Revenue for the privately held company declined for the eighth straight quarter.


The company reported net income of US$15 million for the fourth quarter ended May 31, compared with a net loss of $51 million a year earlier. Revenue fell five percent to $27.1 billion.


Excluding items such as inventory adjustments and gains or losses from sales of assets, the company posted an operating loss of $19 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of $230 million.


Cargill is in the midst of a restructuring aimed at making itself more responsive to market swings.


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“We have about $28 billion of equity in the books and about $1.6 billion in earnings on an adjusted basis,” said chief financial officer Marcel Smits. “That’s around the five percent mark, and that’s obviously not where we want to be.”


Cargill has spent $3 billion in the past year on expansions and acquisitions, such as fish feed-maker EWOS, and divested nearly $2.4 billion in assets, including its U.S. pork business and some cattle feedlots. It has realized more than $625 million from new products and services and from efficiency gains.


“We’re making progress in terms of positioning ourselves for a future that is meaningfully more profitable,” Smits said.


The food ingredients and applications unit posted stronger results in the quarter, as did the animal nutrition and protein business. However, its origination and processing segment lost money because of losses in soybean trading and volatile oilseed crush margins.


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