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Cargill profits boosted by meat demand

Cargill profits boosted by meat demand

Company capitalizes on shift in global protein flows due to African swine fever.

Cargill reported improved results for the fiscal 2020 second quarter ended Nov. 30, 2019. Adjusted operating earnings were $1.02 billion, up 19% from $853 million last year. For the first half of the year, this brought adjusted earnings to $1.93 billion. Net earnings on a U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) basis for the quarter were $1.19 billion, up 61% from a year ago. Net earnings for the first half climbed 20% to $2.11 billion.

Second-quarter revenues rose 4% to $29.2 billion.

 “We saw very good execution from our global teams throughout the quarter as they focused on delivering what matters for our customers,” Cargill chairman and chief executive officer Dave MacLennan said. “Our ongoing transformation, as well as recent acquisitions and expanded capabilities, are all helping us continue to raise our performance.”

Performance highlights

Adjusted operating earnings increased in two of Cargill’s four business segments: Animal Nutrition & Protein and Industrial & Financial Services; however, they declined in Origination & Processing and Food Ingredients & Applications.

According to the company, notable results include:

  • Cargill’s protein businesses around the world were well prepared to meet opportunities from country-by-country changes in demand, shifts in global protein flows due to African swine fever and other market forces.
  • Transformation efforts, recent acquisitions and capital investments all had positive impacts in businesses like animal nutrition and global poultry. Likewise, the ocean transportation business benefited from its readiness for the upcoming industry shift to low-sulfur fuels that began on Jan. 1, 2020.
  • The company’s agricultural trading business stayed well positioned across commodities, while some of the regional origination and processing businesses continued to feel the negative impact of trade uncertainty and weather disruptions, particularly in North America.
  • Several global product lines of food ingredients saw softer results, including starches and sweeteners in Europe and Brazil and edible oils in South America. Strong product deliveries kept cocoa and chocolate results nearly even with last year.
  • The beneficial impact of wintry weather, combined with production efficiency, gave road safety salt results a boost.

Innovation for growth

Cargill and joint venture partner Royal DSM began commercial-scale production of EverSweet stevia sweetener in November at Cargill’s $50 million fermentation facility in Blair, Neb. — the first of its kind in the U.S. The zero-calorie sweetener uses fermentation to create the two best-tasting molecules in the stevia leaf. In addition to providing scale, fermentation is much more sustainable than traditional leaf-based production, since these molecules make up less than 1% of the stevia leaf in nature.

“The innovation has significant growth potential because it’s well suited for many kinds of food and beverage applications, such as soft drinks, flavored waters and teas, smoothies, yogurt, confections and ice creams,” the company reported. “More than 300 customer trials and product development projects are currently in progress.”

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