Cargill Inc., the commodity trader that’s the largest closely held U.S. company, reported fiscal second-quarter profit fell 88 percent because of “challenges” in commodity-based trading and asset-management businesses.
Earnings from continuing operations declined to $100 million in the three months through November from $832 million a year earlier, the Minneapolis-based company said today in a statement. Sales rose 17 percent to $33.3 billion from $28.5 billion.
“First, commodity and financial markets were driven more by political uncertainties than by underlying supply and demand fundamentals,” Greg Page, Cargill’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in the statement. “Second, our performance in the sugar market was poor.”
The company said last month it will cut as many as 2,000 workers, or 1.5 percent of its 138,000 employees, in the next six months to reduce expenses because of a weak global economy. Cargill also said it’s planning to close its Des Moines, Iowa, soybean crush plant on Feb. 4 amid industry overcapacity in soy meal production.
Cargill is the largest closely held U.S. company as ranked by Forbes.
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