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Cargill posts 4th-qtr loss on one-time charges, revenue down

Global commodities trader Cargill Inc reported a net quarterly loss on Thursday due to one-time charges and lower profit in three of its four business segments, citing an economic slowdown in emerging markets.

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Global commodities trader Cargill Inc reported a net quarterly loss on Thursday due to one-time charges and lower profit in three of its four business segments, citing an economic slowdown in emerging markets.

The privately held company, based in Minnesota, posted a net loss of $51 million for the fiscal fourth quarter ended May 31, compared with a profit of $376 million a year earlier. The year-earlier profit was revised downward from $424 million as the company corrected a charge tied to a Venezuelan currency devaluation.

Revenue fell 22 percent to $28.4 billion from $36.2 billion.

Cargill was the latest large agricultural commodities trader to report a disappointing quarter after agribusiness rival Archer Daniels Midland Co posted lower-than-expected results on Tuesday andBunge Ltd reported a sharply lower quarterly profit last week.

The companies, which along with Louis Dreyfus Corp make up the "ABCDs" that dominate global agricultural trade, make money by transporting, processing and storing crops. But they have struggled despite massive U.S. harvests last year that increased the volume of available grain.

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Cargill's origination and processing unit profit lagged the year-earlier quarter as large global crop stockpiles limited price volatility and reduced trade volumes. The segment was also stung by slow farmer selling in South America, Cargill said.

High North American beef prices relative to other meats hurt Cargill's animal nutrition and protein segment in the quarter while an economic slowdown in emerging markets led to lower earnings in its food and ingredients unit.

"The economic environment remains sluggish in many emerging markets where we have invested significantly over the past several years," Chief Executive Officer David MacLennan said in a release.

One-time charges taken in the fourth quarter included asset impairment related to Cargill's enterprise resource planning system and another charge tied to the drop in value of Venezuela's currency, the company said.

The company's industrial and financial services segment was a bright spot, turning in a higher year-on-year quarterly profit on good bets on the tumbling crude oil market. 

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