MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Agribusiness conglomerate Cargill Inc. said its net income fell 7 percent in the fourth quarter during a period of volatile crop prices, but earnings for the full-year were up 35 percent
Cargill is privately held and doesn't provide the same detailed financial figures that publicly traded companies do. The company is engaged in a broad array of agricultural industries, from meat production to grain trading.
The company said Tuesday it earned $404 million from continuing operations during its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended May 31. That's down 7 percent from $435 during the same period last year.
The company said its consolidated revenues for the quarter were $34.8 billion, up 32 percent from $26.3 billion during the same period last year.
The quarter was marked by volatility in the agricultural economy. Crop prices traded at record highs on fears of a shortage, as demand picked up from the U.S. ethanol industry and overseas livestock producers. But prices quickly dropped, only to rise again, on conflicting reports about grain supplies.
The price swings can both help or hurt Cargill. It buys grains as feed for its livestock, for example, but also sells crops to overseas markets. Managing the price swings is the key to the company's profits.
"Cargill sought to be a 'port in the storm' for our customers, sourcing food and feedstuffs from multiple origins, handling the logistics, managing the risk and delivering reliably," CEO Greg Page said in a statement.
For the full year, Cargill said it earned $2.69 billion from continuing operations, up 35 percent from $1.99 billion the year before. Consolidated revenue for the year was $119.5 billion, up 18 percent from $101.3 billion the year before.
Cargill said it earned $359 million from its discontinued investment in the fertilizer company, Mosaic Co. For the full fiscal year, the company reported $1.55 billion in income from discontinued operations.
Cargill booked a one-time accounting gain of $11.49 billion on the May 25 for the sale of its Mosaic shares, which were exchanged for Cargill stock and debt.
Cargill said earnings increased at three of its five business segments during the fourth quarter. The origination and processing segment improved, and was the leading profit center for the year, according to Cargill, although the company did not provide specific figures.
Income fell at Cargill's risk-management and financial segment during the fourth quarter, and the year, due to lower earnings at its energy businesses. Cargill didn't elaborate on the reason for the losses.