Agribusiness giant Cargill today reported $241 million in earnings from operations for the 2003 third quarter, up from $151 million a year ago. The company said proceeds received from litigation settlements had been a significant factor in the earnings rise.
The company also gained $3 million from nonoperating items, which brought net earnings under GAAP to $244 million in the third quarter.
For the first nine months of fiscal 2003, earnings from operations were $891 million, compared with $670 million a year ago, again helped by settlements with vitamin manufacturers involved in price-fixing lawsuits.
Sale of North Star Steel's tubular division and the adoption of new rules for goodwill accounting in the first quarter saw an additional $258 million, bringing Cargill's net earnings under GAAP to $1.15 billion for the first nine months.
"Cargill delivered solid results in often difficult circumstances during the third quarter," said Warren Staley, chairman and chief executive officer.
He said that the company would concentrate on building collaborative relationships and customer solutions needed for long-term success.
As anticipated, many of Cargill's food, meat, oilseed processing and agricultural services business units reported more moderate operating results in the third quarter due to seasonal changes in supply and demand and the more difficult global economic environment. Cocoa, cotton and juice were among the stronger units.
The integration of Cerestar, the European specialty starch and sweeteners company bought out in August last year, continued to proceed on target. The new enterprise combines Cerestar's research and applications centers and production facilities in Europe, the United States and China, with Cargill's sweetener and starch businesses around the world.
Cargill's Health & Food Technologies (H&FT) unit recently launched a new phytosterol brand, CoroWise, at the Nutracon-SupplyExpo West show in March. The division was also involved in speeding up a recent Food and Drug Administration action that will expand the use of the phytosterol heart-health claim to a broader range of foods and beverages.