US food and agribusiness giant Cargill has reported net earnings of $366 million for the third quarter ended 28 February, up 35% from the same period a year ago.

In the first nine months, the company earned $1.87bn, which included a $598m noncash net gain realized in the second quarter. Last year’s second quarter included an unrelated special item of $117m. Excluding the special items in both periods, Cargill’s nine-month net earnings were $1.27 b, an increase of 25% from a year ago.

“Cargill generated solid earnings in the third quarter, a period in which we managed a great deal of price volatility in many of the markets we served,” said Warren Staley, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer. “We continued investing in higher-value foods and meats in emerging markets and in specialty ingredients that help our food customers respond to their customers’ preferences for flavourful, nutritious and convenient food products.”

Among its five business segments, Cargill’s risk management and financial, animal nutrition and agriculture services, and industrial segments delivered earnings worldwide that exceeded the third quarter a year ago. Results from the company’s diverse food ingredient businesses in Europe, North America and Latin America were slightly below last year’s third quarter. Its origination and processing segment also trailed last year’s third quarter moderately on a global basis.

Through the combination of an acquisition agreement and a public tender, Cargill acquired more than 98% of the shares of Seara Alimentos, a leading Brazilian poultry and pork processor. Seara is a new line of business for Cargill in Brazil, where Cargill has operated for 40 years. It plans to add value to Seara’s poultry and pork products and grow its presence in international markets.

Cargill purchased the grain and protein meal import and distribution business of Pagnan, an Italian grain company. It announced plans to buy the global pectin business of Citrico, a maker of citrus-based products for the food and beverage industry. Pectin is a naturally occurring texturizer extracted from the peel of citrus fruits that is used in a variety of foods to enhance flavour, texture and mouth feel.

Construction began on Cargill’s first vegetable oil refinery in Russia in Efremov, south of Moscow. The company also is building a malt plant at the Efremov complex and expanding its corn processing plant there to make wheat-based sweeteners. All of these facilities are designed to serve the Russian food and beverage market.