Earnings among the global group of animal protein businesses were well below last year’s record level due to the cyclical downturn in North American beef. The U.S.-based meat units were short of last year’s results, though several units were improved in the fourth quarter. Results in Central America were up strongly for the year.
Segment results in origination and processing were down significantly from last year’s exceptional performance, due in part to losses in cotton and sugar. The segment also had lower earnings among the grain and oilseed processing businesses, though with positive exceptions in the Americas.
The agriculture services segment posted improved results in the fourth quarter, boosted by the growth in Cargill’s global animal nutrition business. North American farm services were on par with the prior year’s fourth quarter. For the full year, the segment was down moderately from fiscal 2011.
Risk management and financial segment results were mixed. The financial services and energy businesses outperformed the prior year on a combined basis, but the asset management subsidiaries lagged fiscal 2011’s performance. As a whole, the segment was well below the prior year.
Although improved in the fourth quarter, full-year results in Cargill’s industrial segment were held below the year-ago level by the mild North American winter, which negatively impacted demand for deicing salt products.
In looking ahead, Page said, “We are confident about Cargill’s ability to grow profitably, to help our customers to do the same, and to help build a more food-secure world.”