USA – Cargill has reported a 2% rise in revenues to US$27.85 billion increasing the year-to-date figure to US$84.32 billion led by solid increase in adjusted operating earnings in the Animal Nutrition and Protein segment in the fourth successive quarter.

For the fiscal 2018 third quarter and first nine months ended Feb. 28, 2018, earnings totalled US$2.4 billion, down 7 percent from US$2.58 billion a year ago.

Cargill said the earnings were affected by a net charge of US$161 million related to the recently enacted U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and excluding the tax, the results were on pace with last year’s third quarter and first nine months.

Lower earnings were attributed to sluggish agricultural commodity markets even as Cargill transform and differentiate itself.

It is embarking on an integrated approach to global operations its ongoing appraisal and enhancement of assets along supply chains, and its investment in new capabilities and technologies.

The Animal Nutrition and Protein segment was boosted by high earnings in the animal feeds, premixes, additives and micro-nutrients together with strong performance in beef and eggs in North America.

Despite efforts to increase presence in targeted animal nutrition and protein markets, aqua nutrition and poultry remained sluggish in growth as a result of lower pricing among other factors.

Cargill invested US$25 million in a joint venture with Puris by expanding manufacturing and commercial capabilities in pea protein to support growth in new markets.

The efforts included new ventures, partnerships and acquisitions, which is a joint venture with U.K.’s Faccenda Foods completed in January, new poultry processing facility in Philippines and expansion of its Columbia, South Carolina, ground beef plant, purchased in 2016.

For Cargill, key results were enabled by investments in digital capabilities including minority equity investment in Dublin-based Company, Cainthus; introduction of iOShrimp and inauguration of a fish feed mill and a technology application center in India.

Cocoa, chocolate and edible oils gains were offset by higher manufacturing costs for starches and sweeteners in Europe.

While corn sweeteners recorded slower growth, snowy weather boosted salt sales although this was weighed down by higher production costs, lower sales prices for road salt and rising truck freight costs on packaged salt products.

Oilseeds processing posted poor results in several regions though it was boosted by strong margins at the end of the period.

Cargill said that it was investing in technology to better connect its global operations and supply chains, enhance trading and risk management, and bring farm customers additional insights and tools so they can better manage their risks and market their crops.

The firm looks forward to advancing a sustainable food system that nourishes the world.

“To fulfil our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way, we are looking to combine efforts with a diverse set of organizations,” said David MacLennan, Cargill’s chairman and chief executive officer.

“These partnerships offer the chance to unlock creative breakthroughs that meet collective challenges.”