Cargill today reported net earnings of $326 million in the 2009 third quarter ended Feb. 28, down 68 percent from a record $1.03 billion in the same period a year ago. In the first nine months, the company earned $3.01 billion, up 4 percent from $2.9 billion a year ago. Excluding earnings from its majority investment in The Mosaic Company, Cargill's results were below the year-ago level in both the third quarter and nine-month period.
"Cargill's earnings turned down in the third quarter, as the troubles in the global economy and financial system arrived at our company's doorstep," said Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer. "When conditions reversed course in mid-2008, we began preparing for tougher times ahead. We cut expenses, decreased debt and curtailed nonbase capital spending, but we kept the focus on our customers who need a strong, reliable partner to help them provide more value to the customers they serve."
The decrease in Cargill's third-quarter earnings touched all five of the company's business segments. Although performance within the segments was mixed, many businesses experienced weaker demand and lower sales volumes, as well as fewer trading opportunities as markets fluctuated within narrower ranges.
Page said Cargill is encouraged by the depth of effort occurring around the world to stabilize the financial system and revive economic growth. "When conditions come into place for a recovery on the broader economic front, with our fundamentals in place, we'll be ready to build on those trends."
Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 160,000 people in 67 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit http://www.cargill.com.