US agribusiness giant Cargill saw profits almost double in its last financial year, with its food ingredients arm reporting record earnings.

The company booked net earnings of US$2.31bn for the year to the end of May, up from the $1.17bn posted last year when its bottom line was hit by volatility in the commodity markets. Annual sales increased 2% to $136.7bn, Cargill said.

Profits from Cargill’s food ingredients and applications division were a “significant contributor to company results”, the company said.

Earnings from food ingredients were ahead of last year’s record despite the effects of the North American drought and high commodity prices. Cargill cited “particularly strong” performances from its sweeteners, starches and cocoa operations.

However, the drought, as well as high feed costs and the tightest cattle supply in the US in 60 years meant earnings from Cargill’s animal protein business were lower.

Cargill chairman and CEO Greg Page said: “Nearly all of our business units were profitable, and more than two-thirds exceeded year-ago results. We did a better job of delivering innovations and solutions that help our customers succeed. We also drew on our sourcing, logistical and risk management skills to navigate volatile commodity markets in the first half that were driven by severe weather.”