Cargill boss ‘feels good about progress’ amid revenue growth


The chief executive of Cargill, David MacLennan, has said that he ‘feels good about our underlying progress’ after structural improvements led to growth in both full-year revenue and net earnings.

The company’s revenue for the 2016/17 fiscal year was $109.7 billion – up 2% – while net earnings were 19% higher at $2.84 billion.

For the fourth quarter, revenues rose 4% to $28.3 billion, while net earnings were $347 million compared to $15 million in the same period the year before.

“The past two years have seen significant work to improve performance and position the company for growth,” MacLennan said. “The structural improvements we’ve made, as well as favourable conditions in some markets, have yielded strong results. Although the environment continuously changes, we feel good about our underlying progress. By building a more integrated, focused and agile Cargill, we are creating the momentum for growth and success for our customers and partners.”

MacLennan noted that Cargill and its customers now operate in environments of greater complexity. Mixed macroeconomic trends have left customers – from consumer branded and foodservice companies to farmers – looking for a partner with expertise, reliability and a forward-looking perspective.

“We want to be their most trusted partner in agriculture, food and nutrition,” MacLennan said. “We’re in a stronger position today to deliver the solutions our customers seek.”

To drive financial performance in fiscal 2017 and beyond, Cargill set a strategic direction to be the leader in responsible and sustainable nutrition, and continued building differentiated capabilities for future growth including digitalisation and analytics and sustainable supply chains.

It also reshaped its business portfolio through $1 billion of investment in strategic acquisitions, joint ventures, and new or expanded facilities, as well as $700 million in divestitures of non-strategic assets.

In the past year, it has signed major agreements with Zuidnatie on logistics in Belgium and Evolva on the EverSweet sweetener.

And the company repurchased about $2.1 billion in long-term debt, which will help lower future interest expenses.

In March, MacLennan warned that the success of the industry was reliant on open and inclusive trade policies, with the Trump administration introducing fresh scepticism about trade agreements in the US and Brexit confirmation arousing fears for the future of European trade.

“It’s our shared responsibility to stand up for trade because it’s good for people and communities,” he said.

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