Ingredients giant Cargill posts high double digit gains in Q3

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Ambitious US ingredients supplier Cargill boosts its war chest,
announcing a 35 per cent rise in profit for the third quarter of
2005, on gains from commodity trading and its animal feed and steel

The largest private firm in the US, Cargill posted a net profit of $366 million (€285m)in the third quarter, a considerable rise on $271 million for the same period a year earlier.

Cargill's broad food ingredients portfolio ranges from health-positioned speciality oils and soy brands, to starches, flour and sweeteners.

Minnetonka-based Cargill said demand for agricultural services, such as grain shipping and marketing, rose as farmers harvested record corn and soybean crops.

The company said earnings from its rolled steel plant in Ohio increased as demand for the metal rose. Benchmark steel sheet product prices were $605 a ton in March, up 21 per cent from a year ago, and they hit a record $756 in September.

Cargill continues to encroach further into the European food and beverage market, using its hefty wallet in recent months to consolidate its position in Europe.

Late last month Brussels cleared the way for the agri-giant's purchase of Italian farm commodity firm Pagnan.

According to Cargill, that already has starch and sweetener operations in Italy, the deal will build on existing grain trading businesses in Italy, providing particular benefits to "our agri-food customers."

Earlier in the same month Cargill marked its entry into the global pectin market, announcing a takeover deal, for an undisclosed sum, of liquidated firm Citrico, the number three citrus-peel based pectin player.

In January Cargill signed off over €76 million in investments for polyol sweeteners; with the expansion of plants in the US and Europe, including the firm's Italian Castelmassa facility.

Also in January, the US firm announced it would break ground on its first refinery in Russia, the number one vegetable oil market for the Central and Eastern European region.

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