US food and agribusiness firm Cargill has reported net earnings of US$230m for the 2005 fourth quarter ended 31 May, up 18% from $195m in the same period a year ago.

For the 2005 fiscal year, the company earned $2.1bn, which included a non-cash net gain of $578m realised in the second quarter. Excluding the one-time gain, Cargill’s 12-month net earnings were $1.53bn, up 15% from $1.33bn a year ago. Revenues for the full year rose 13 % to $71.1bn.

“Backed by strong performance across our diverse business and geographic operations, Cargill delivered increased earnings in fiscal 2005,” said Warren Staley, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer. “Today’s results are a tangible sign of the progress achieved in our company’s strategy to become a recognised leader in creating food and agricultural solutions that help customers succeed.”

Among the contributors to Cargill’s earnings for the full fiscal year were its animal nutrition, beef, egg product, pork and poultry businesses worldwide; the risk management and financial segment; the global supply chain management network, which includes grain, oilseeds and other commodities and ocean shipping services; food ingredients in Europe; the US- and Latin American-based salt businesses, which manufacture products for food, road deicing and other uses; and the US- and Canadian-based agriculture services units.

Cargill described fiscal 2005 as a year of expansion for the company, especially in emerging markets. Cargill is adding to its oilseeds operations in Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Romania, Russia and Ukraine. In meat, Cargill purchased Seara, a leading poultry and pork business in Brazil, and became the sole owner of Finexcor, an Argentine beef processor and exporter. In Canada, it bought Caravelle Foods, a supplier of frozen beef patties to the country’s quick-service restaurant industry.

In food ingredients, the company purchased cocoa processing facilities in England and Germany, and a chocolate plant in Germany, which will expand services to confectioners and other food makers in Europe and eastward. Cargill also acquired a pectin business that makes citrus-based texturizers for food and beverage applications.