Sanderson Farms returns to profit in 2nd quarter

By The Associated Press

LAUREL, Miss. (AP) — Sanderson Farms Inc. returned to a profit in its fiscal second quarter on higher revenue, lower feed costs and improved market conditions.

Chairman and CEO Joe F. Sanderson Jr. said in a statement Tuesday that the chicken producer’s results were bolstered by a lower supply of poultry products. He said demand for chicken remains steady at grocery stores and among export customers, but is still soft with casual dining customers.

While feed costs in flocks sold fell 9.8 percent from a year ago, Sanderson said that this was still high relative to historical costs. The Laurel, Miss., company anticipates that grain prices will remain high due to tight supplies of corn and soybeans

Sanderson Farms reported net income of $23.9 million, or $1.04 per share, for the three months ended April 30. That compares with a net loss of $16.3 million, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts expected earnings of 86 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey.

The prior-year period included a $6 million charge related to lowering the value of live birds.

Revenue increased 24 percent to $595 million from $479.3 million, helped by higher chicken prices and increased production. That topped Wall Street’s revenue estimate of 586.1 million.

Its shares finished at $54.31 per share last week. They are near their 52-week high of $55.05 reached in mid-March.