Cargill Inc. will outsource some of its information technology services, a move that will affect 900 jobs worldwide, including 300 in the Twin Cities.

The Minnetonka-based agribusiness giant told employees this week that it will move certain IT functions to Tata Consultancy Services, a big global IT outsourcing firm based in Mumbai, India. The transition will take up to 9 months.

Cargill hasn't determined how many of the 900 jobs will be cut outright, said Lena Michaud, a company spokeswoman. Some employees in the affected IT division will remain with Cargill, others will be offered jobs with Tata, and others will be laid off, she said.

However, a source said that a majority of the 900 Cargill jobs would likely be cut.

Cargill employs 142,000 people in 67 countries worldwide, including about 5,900 in Minnesota, mostly in professional jobs in the Twin Cities.

The outsourcing involves Cargill's Infrastructure Services Department, which performs services that support hardware, including desktop and laptop computers. Some employees in that department work at Cargill's Hopkins office.

Cargill informed employees last fall that it was reviewing the outsourcing of this work, Michaud said. "We have been looking at whether we should do it internally or choose a partner who could do it more efficiently and better," Michaud said.

Tata Consultancy is part of Tata Group, an Indian conglomerate with $100 billion in annual sales whose extensive holdings include automobiles, steel and hotels.

Tata Consultancy, India's biggest beneficiary of global IT outsourcing, is the "jewel in Tata Group's crown," according to a recent article in India's leading financial newspaper.

Cargill, with interests in everything from road salt to meat processing to chocolate production, is one of the world's largest privately held firms with $137 billion in sales in its latest fiscal year.

Cargill's last sizable layoff — up to 2,000 people globally — was announced in December 2011 and involved fewer than 250 employees in Minnesota, the company has said.

Mike Hughlett • 612-673-7003