In this file:


·         Cargill fourth-quarter profit dives 41% on trade tensions, U.S. floods

… The privately held company's adjusted operating profit fell to $476 million in the fourth quarter ended May 31 from $809 million a year earlier…  


·         Media Release: Cargill reports fiscal 2019 fourth-quarter and full-year results

Uncertain global business environment slows earnings, as Cargill accelerates investment in key markets and sustainable supply chains


·         How Cargill went from corporate climate hero to ‘the worst’

“We recognize this is an audacious claim,” wrote Henry Waxman, the chairman of Mighty Earth and a former member of Congress for some 40 years. “But this report provides extensive and compelling evidence to back it up.”


·         Cargill rejects Cerrado soy moratorium, pledges $30 million search for ideas

… critics argue that Cargill can’t have it both ways…



Cargill fourth-quarter profit dives 41% on trade tensions, U.S. floods


Karl Plume, Reuters

July 11, 2019


CHICAGO (Reuters) - Commodities trader Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] reported a 41% slump in adjusted quarterly profit on Thursday, citing supply disruptions stemming from the U.S.-China trade war and also flooding in the central United States that hit marketing and transportation of grains.


The privately held company's adjusted operating profit fell to $476 million in the fourth quarter ended May 31 from $809 million a year earlier.


The Minnesota-based food commodities firm, the largest privately held U.S. company, said three of its four business units posted lower year-on-year results.


“Throughout the year, we faced a very challenging global business environment that slowed earnings,” CEO Dave MacLennan said in a news release.


Trade tensions between Washington and Beijing have battered the U.S. agricultural sector as tit-for-tat tariffs have reduced commodities exports from the United States and redrawn global trade flows. Severe spring flooding across the U.S. farm belt added to the struggles.


Cargill’s animal nutrition and protein segment posted a lower year-on-year profit for the third time in four quarters as poor weather disrupted U.S. Midwest cattle shipments and reduced demand for beef for outdoor grilling.


Reduced hog feed demand in China, where a deadly hog disease called African swine fever has decimated the industry, further dampened results, Cargill said.


Profit for Cargill’s origination and processing business fell from an exceptionally strong fourth quarter last year as flooding across the central United States disrupted grain transportation and exports...





Cargill reports fiscal 2019 fourth-quarter and full-year results

Uncertain global business environment slows earnings, as Cargill accelerates investment in key markets and sustainable supply chains


Source: Cargill

via PRNewswire - Jul 11, 2019


MINNEAPOLIS, July 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Cargill today reported results for the fiscal 2019 fourth quarter and full year ended May 31, 2019. Key measures include:


·         Adjusted operating earnings were $476 million, down 41% from the $809 million earned in last year's record fourth quarter. This brought earnings for the full fiscal year to $2.82 billion, 12% below last year's top performance.

·         Net earnings on a U.S. GAAP basis were $235 million, down 67% from $711 million in the strong comparative period. For the 12 months, net earnings decreased 17% to $2.56 billion.

·         Fourth-quarter and full-year revenues each dipped 1% to $29.9 billion and $113.5 billion, respectively. Cash flow from operations equaled $5.19 billion, also a 1% decline.


"Throughout the year, we faced a very challenging global business environment that slowed earnings. Still, we improved performance in several food and financial businesses and significantly reduced costs companywide," said Dave MacLennan, Cargill's chairman and chief executive officer. In particular, he pointed to the North American protein business, which led earnings by combining strong demand for beef and eggs with consumer insights that helped customers win in local markets.


MacLennan said the company is focused on what it can best control: moving faster, raising efficiency, and creating innovative solutions for customers. "We want to accelerate growth in market segments where our expertise will help us create more value with our customers. Serving them inspires us to reach higher every day."


Segment results


Adjusted operating earnings in Industrial & Financial Services were up significantly in the fourth quarter; results in the remaining three business segments were below the year-ago level.


Animal Nutrition & Protein was the biggest contributor to Cargill's earnings for the quarter. Within the segment, North American protein results were slightly below last year's level, as spring flooding in the U.S. Midwest delayed cattle shipments and cool weather dampened the start of the outdoor grilling season. Still, domestic and export demand for beef remained strong, as did domestic demand for value-added egg products. Global poultry results trailed the year-ago level, hampered by a mix of market and operating challenges across regions. Animal nutrition earnings also were negatively affected by market disruptions, including the reduction in feed demand resulting from the culling of pigs in China and nearby countries to control the incidence of African swine fever, a virus fatal to pigs.


During the quarter, Cargill invested to serve growing demand for protein, particularly across Asia. In June, Cargill opened a $50 million addition to its poultry facilities in China's Anhui province that increases capacity for cooked chicken products. To the south, a flagship facility for producing premixes and specialty feeds for young animals is under construction in Jiangxi province. It is expected to come on line at the end of 2020. The company also opened a state-of-the-art premix plant in Jordan to meet the specialized animal nutrition needs of customers in the Middle East and North Africa.


Building on earlier moves to diversify its protein business, Cargill invested in Aleph Farms, a cultured meat company focused on growing complex meat varieties such as steak. The new capital will help Aleph Farms move closer to commercialization, with a limited consumer product launch anticipated in three-to-five years. Cargill is committed both to growing its traditional animal protein business and to exploring new opportunities to meet higher future demand for all forms of protein.


Food Ingredients & Applications delivered mixed results across the segment. Starches and sweeteners trailed the year-ago quarter as improved sales volume in North America was offset by higher energy and raw material costs in Europe. Though ahead for the year, edible oils had a softer fourth quarter. Cocoa and chocolate edged out last year's fourth quarter as strong performance in Europe was partially trimmed by lower sales volume and higher operating costs in North America. Sales of salts for food and water quality applications contributed to higher salt earnings in the fourth period. And the segment's businesses in Asia saw improvement across several product lines.


As part of a strategy to grow in specialty ingredients, Cargill completed the acquisition of Belgian chocolate company Smet. In Brazil, Cargill is constructing a $150 million pectin plant in São Paulo state. Pectin is a versatile, citrus-based texturizer that has label-friendly applications in bakery, confectionery, dairy, and fruit juices and jams. The new facility, which complements Cargill's pectin production capacity in France, Germany and Italy, is slated to start up in late 2021.


In Asia, Cargill opened a food and nutrition innovation center in Singapore, where customers can collaborate with Cargill food scientists and culinary specialists to create or reformulate foods and beverages to meet consumers' changing preferences. The company also announced a $110 million expansion to its corn processing facility in China's Jilin province, including an adjacent food safety and technology center being built in collaboration with the local government.


Origination & Processing was negatively impacted by the deep uncertainty surrounding the U.S.-China trading relationship, which has overridden global supply-and-demand fundamentals and disrupted trade flows, especially in corn and oilseeds. Adverse wet weather in the U.S. interior also slowed grain marketing and transportation activities. Softening profitability in biodiesel contributed to lower results in Europe. And earnings in South America were held back by a crop shortfall in Paraguay and a difficult crush environment in Argentina.


Earnings in Industrial & Financial Services rose considerably in the fourth quarter, lifted by improved results across metals, risk management and trade finance.


Contributing to sustainable global development


Cargill continues to direct its insights, capabilities and resources toward transforming what is possible in food, agriculture and nutrition. As the new fiscal year began, Cargill published four reports addressing its goals, partnerships and progress to advance sustainability across key businesses: aqua nutrition, premix and nutrition, cocoa and chocolate, and ocean transportation. Additionally, the Soft Commodities Forum, of which Cargill is a founding member, issued its first progress report on soy sourced from Brazil's Cerrado region, having previously developed a common framework for monitoring progress on supply chain transparency and traceability. The forum, which includes the world's leading handlers of soy, canola and other soft commodities, was convened by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to advance collective action. Members' progress will be reported biannually.


Recognizing the need for bold ideas, Cargill committed $30 million to bring together business, governments and civil society in a concerted effort to end deforestation in Brazil. The intent is to find and accelerate solutions at scale to protect forests and native vegetation while allowing farmers and communities to prosper.


Cargill's 2019 annual report, Reach Higher, will debut Tuesday, July 30, on By integrating financial and corporate responsibility performance, the report will show how Cargill aims to achieve its purpose to nourish the world safely, responsibly and sustainably. In addition to progress measures, the report will highlight how Cargill works relentlessly to deliver for its customers and all who depend on the company.


"We are proud of how far we've come in our 154-year-old history, and we know together we can achieve more," MacLennan said. "With our partners, we are striving to push forward and redefine food systems for everyone's benefit."


* This earnings release is published prior to the issuance of Cargill's audited financial statements.


Explanation of non-GAAP financial measure


Cargill reports financial results in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The company additionally reports adjusted operating earnings, a non-GAAP financial measure that management believes provides additional insight into the underlying financial performance of ongoing operations. In calculating adjusted operating earnings, Cargill includes earnings and losses attributable to non-controlling interests in consolidated companies, with the exception of those from its asset management business. Mark-to-market gains and losses on intercompany contracts between the Origination & Processing and the Food Ingredients & Applications segments also are included. Cargill excludes the following six items: timing differences related to inventory, derivatives and hedging; last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory adjustments; amortization of intangible assets; gains and losses on changes in investment structures; asset impairment and restructuring charges; and gains and losses on disposals of businesses and other long-term assets. For more information, visit


About Cargill


Cargill's 160,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive. We combine 154 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side by side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture. For more information, visit and our News Center.


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How Cargill went from corporate climate hero to ‘the worst’


By Nathanael Johnson, Grist

Jul 11, 2019


Back in January, the environmental group Mighty Earth was ready to launch a massive campaign attacking Cargill, the world’s largest agribusiness, for failing to do enough to protect forests. They had composed a report labeling it “the worst company in the world.” They had sent out press releases to media organizations (including Grist, naturally) about the planned blitz. They had paid for several scathing bus ads which would proclaim Cargill’s guilt throughout its hometown of Minneapolis.


But then Cargill did the one thing that could stop the impending avalanche: It signaled it was ready to listen.


After learning about the pending campaign, Cargill asked Mighty Earth for guidance on how to make things right, and the group agreed to halt the campaign. Workers hustled to tear down the bus ads before they started rolling around the city. For six months, the two groups went back and forth in tentative peace talks.


Now, that detente has broken down in conflict.


On Thursday, Mighty Earth protesters dressed in cow costumes were ready to parade in front of Cargill’s headquarters. The organization released its report, describing Cargill as “the worst company in the world.”


“We recognize this is an audacious claim,” wrote Henry Waxman, the chairman of Mighty Earth and a former member of Congress for some 40 years. “But this report provides extensive and compelling evidence to back it up.”


The report doesn’t actually weigh Cargill against other corporations. Instead, it reads like a lawyer’s brief listing the black marks on the company’s record: sickening people with infected beef, killing fish with water pollution, buying from farmers that forced children to labor in the fields, and allegedly cheating customers with financial shenanigans.


It seemed like enviros and executives were actually making progress together for once. So why did everything go to crap? The primary reason Mighty Earth launched this attack is that Cargill failed to deliver on a sweeping promise to end deforestation by 2020, according to Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of Mighty Earth. Cargill made this commitment back in 2014 in the lead up to the United Nations climate agreement in Paris. The company’s CEO, David MacLennan, went to the United Nations to declare that Cargill would use its influence to stop forests from falling anywhere in every corner of the globe where it conducts business.


Environmental groups applauded but also promised to hold the company to its pledge. Then Cargill began to grapple with the enormity of the challenge, and executives realized that there was no way that, before 2020, they would be able to ensure that it never bought a single grain of wheat or soybean from land that was previously forest.


Meanwhile, farmers and ranchers worldwide were tearing down forests at a faster pace. Environmental groups grew increasingly frustrated with Cargill and the other corporations that had made similar pledges to curb deforestation. Last month, during a meeting of the Consumer Goods Forum, a group of some 400 companies working to end deforestation (along with many other goals), Greenpeace activists rappelled down from the rafters holding a banner that read, “still destroying forests.”


“When [Cargill] CEO MacLennan made the announcement in 2014 it was clear to me that there hadn’t been a lot of planning that when into that,” said Rolf Skar, assistant campaign director at Greenpeace USA. “I don’t mind when CEOs are ambitious and push a bold agenda, but something has definitely not worked in the years since.”


Or as Mighty Earth put it, “Cargill dropped the ball. And then they stomped on it.”


The breakdown in talks between Mighty Earth and Cargill was specifically related to soy markets in Brazil...


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Cargill rejects Cerrado soy moratorium, pledges $30 million search for ideas


·         The 2006 Amazon Soy Moratorium — a voluntary agreement credited with stemming deforestation in the Amazon due to soy growing over the last decade— is the model put forth in the 2017 Cerrado Manifesto, intended to catalyze action to stop rampant clearing of forests and native vegetation in the savanna biome.

·         But now Cargill, a trading firm active in the Cerrado, has published an open letter to its Brazilian soy producers avowing that it will not support a soy moratorium in the savanna biome. Bunge, Archer Daniels Midland, Amaggi and other commodities firms have been resistant to the Manifesto’s call to action as well, which could doom it.

·         Cargill’s nixing of a Cerrado soy moratorium came after the firm announced its sustainable soy action plan, along with a $30 million fund to limit Cerrado forest loss, and amid international pleas to curb Brazilian deforestation prompted by the new EU / Mercosur (Latin American economic bloc) trade agreement.

·         One possible reason Cargill and other commodities firms and producers are resisting the Cerrado Manifesto: under the Amazon Soy Moratorium producers simply moved their operations out of the Amazon and into the Cerrado. But the Cerrado Manifesto would prevent further deforestation for soy in the biome, potentially curbing rapid production expansion there.


by Sarah Sax, Mongabay

10 July 2019


June proved to be a month of mixed, and contradictory, soy signals from Cargill, the largest privately owned company in the U.S., and Brazil’s second largest soy trader. The firm has extensive soy operations in the Cerrado — a biodiverse savanna biome experiencing rapid deforestation as agribusiness converts vast areas of native vegetation for cattle and crops.


Last month, Cargill announced its ambitious soy action plan, committing the firm to transforming its “supply chain to be deforestation free, while protecting native vegetation beyond forest.” Included in that plan was a $30 million fund to source ideas to protect Brazil’s Cerrado biome.


Then Cargill’s CEO posted an op-ed saying that the industry as a whole is poised to fall short of the goal of the New York Declaration on Forests, of which Cargill is a signatory, to halve deforestation by 2020 in key supply chains, including soy, while recognizing the urgent need to reduce native vegetation clearing in the Cerrado.


Coming as an even bigger surprise was an open letter from Cargill to Brazilian soy producers published online on June 24th, stating the company’s steadfast opposition to a proposed Cerrado soy moratorium. Environmentalists say that such a moratorium (as called for in the Cerrado Manifesto), would build on more than a decade of conservation success achieved by the Amazon Soy Moratorium, widely acknowledged for its key role in reducing deforestation in that biome since 2006.


“Cargill has just announced the creation of a $30 million fund to seek and foster innovative ideas that will contribute to ending deforestation in the Cerrado biome, [while] at the same time supporting the prosperity of rural producers and local communities,” wrote Cargill in the letter. “In a very objective way, the creation of this fund does not change the company’s position of being against the creation of a ‘Cerrado Moratorium’ and of continuing to participate and contribute… to the Cerrado Working Group (GTC).”


But critics argue that Cargill can’t have it both ways. They say that the long-term solutions needed to curb Cerrado deforestation already exist in the Amazon Soy Moratorium model, and that by refusing to consider any kind of moratorium in the Brazilian savanna, as called for in the Cerrado Manifesto, Cargill is pandering to its producers. At the same time, the firm will be able to publicize its $30 million deforestation idea fund as proof of Cargill’s green credentials in PR to consumers.


“Cargill is trying to position itself as being concerned about the wholesale destruction of Brazil’s forests while at the same time not taking any action to address it,” Says Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of the environmental advocacy group and NGO Mighty Earth. “Their desire to be seen as sustainable while maintaining links to the worst deforesters in Brazil is at the heart of these contradicting statements.”


In a written response to a Mongabay query, Cargill wrote...


Soy’s increasingly concerning footprint ...


Legal deforestation ...


What’s good for the Amazon could be good for the Cerrado ...


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