US food and agribusiness Cargill has said its second-quarter net earnings almost doubled from a year earlier due to a one-off gain of US$597m related to the merger of its former crop nutrition business with IMC Global.

The company reported net earnings of $1.01bn for the second quarter to 30 November, compared to $518m in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Cargill said last year’s second quarter included an unrelated special item. Excluding the special items in both periods, Cargill’s second-quarter 2005 net earnings were up 3% to $415m from $401m a year ago.

“Cargill delivered solid operating results and began important growth initiatives in the second quarter,” said Warren Staley, Cargill’s chairman and chief executive officer.

“We announced plans to expand in food-producing areas such as Brazil and in growing consumption markets such as India,” he added.