Cargill net climbs 55% in fiscal 2008

by Eric Schroeder
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MINNEAPOLIS — Net earnings for Cargill for the fiscal year ended May 31 were $3.64 billion, up 55% from $2.34 billion during the previous year. After factoring in a $310 million gain on the sale of discontinued operations during the fourth quarter, full-year earnings totaled $3.95 billion.

Revenue for the year increased 36% to $120.4 billion, while cash flow from operations rose 77% to $7 billion.

"Cargill posted a record financial performance in a year of exceptionally strong commodity demand, market turbulence and price risk," said Greg Page, chairman and chief executive officer. "By bringing to bear our business diversity, the full capacity of our global assets, strong risk management and a significant increase in capital deployed, we operated successfully in the most volatile agricultural energy markets in decades. Despite tight stocks of many agricultural commodities, we maintained reliable supply chains for our customers and created value-adding solutions."

For the fourth quarter ended May 31, net earnings were up 18% to $744 million from $628 million during the same period of last year. The company said the improvement was led by the origination and processing segment and the industrial segment, both of which were up substantially from the same period a year ago. Earnings in agriculture services, food ingredients and applications, and risk management, meanwhile, were down from the same period a year ago.

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