Food helps hike Cargill profit

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Cargill Inc. third quarter profit rose as strong earnings from its food ingredients and protein units more than offset lagging results from South American grain trading and processing.

The privately held company has streamlined operations to focus on higher-margin businesses such as food ingredients and fish feeding .

“We had strong results this quarter across our segments, evidence that we are on the right path forward,” chief executive officer David MacLennan said in a release.

Adjusted operating earnings rose 50 percent to US$715 million in the quarter ended Feb. 28, from $476 million at the same point last year.

Excluding one-time items, net income rose to $650 million from $459 million a year earlier, while revenue rose eight percent to $27.3 billion.

Strong global sweeteners and plant-based industrial products in North America supported food ingredients profits.

Animal nutrition and protein benefitted from strong North American beef demand and improved poultry sales in Europe and Southeast Asia.

Slow crop sales in Argentina and drought-reduced corn exports from Brazil weighed down profits, offsetting gains from robust grain exports from the United States, where farmers harvested record corn and soybean crops.

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