Cargill’s third quarter 2017 revenues rose 8 percent to $27.3 billion, for year-to-date revenues of $81.4 billion.
Adjusted operating earnings were $715 million in the third quarter, up 50 percent from $476 million in the year-ago period. Nine-month earnings totaled $2.58 billion, a 55 percent increase over last year’s $1.66 billion.
Net earnings for the quarter on a U.S. GAAP basis were $650 million, up 42 percent from last year’s $459 million. Nine-month net earnings were $2.49 billion, a 5 percent increase year-on-year. In the prior-year period, Cargill realized large gains from business divestitures, which are excluded from adjusted operating earnings.
“We had strong results this quarter across our segments, evidence that we are on the right path forward,” said David MacLennan, Cargill’s chairman and CEO. He cited gains in food ingredients, animal protein and industrials, as well as the progress of teams around the company to bring customers the full benefits of what Cargill has to offer. “All 150,000 people who work here are focused on executing at a high level as we serve our markets in an integrated way. We are eager to keep pursuing the opportunities that we are seeing.”
Earnings in Animal Nutrition & Protein rose significantly, lifted by strong performance in animal protein against a weak comparative period. Although below the earnings pace set in the first half, the North American protein business continued to benefit from renewed consumer demand for beef, which pulled more boxed beef and case-ready volume through its supply chain. It also realized steady foodservice demand for egg products. The poultry business gave protein results an additional boost, with higher cooked chicken exports out of Southeast Asia and improved processing yields and fresh chicken sales in Europe. Elsewhere in the segment, third-quarter earnings in global animal nutrition were below the year-ago level. Despite good performance in bulk feeds and premix products in India, Vietnam and other countries, sales volume softened due to competitive pressure in China and Russia, an avian influenza outbreak in Korea, and disruptive or unseasonable weather in other countries.
Origination & Processing earnings slightly lagged last year’s third quarter. The North America-based business remained a large contributor to segment earnings, thanks to steady grain export volumes; oilseed crush volume decreased late in the period as South America approached harvest season. Performance in South America trailed the prior year as the business dealt with reduced farmer selling and slowed processing in Argentina due to excess rain, as well as decreased corn exports out of Brazil due to last year’s drought. In contrast, segment earnings rose substantially in Asia Pacific, boosted by soybean crush activities in China, and grain origination and trading in Australia.