Sanderson's Results Reflect Market Improvement

US - In its results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010, Sanderson Farms reports an increase in net sales compared to a year previously, and a fall in feed prices, which helped control total costs.
calendar icon 24 February 2010
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Sanderson Farms, Inc. has reported results for the first fiscal quarter ended 31 January 2010.

Net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2010 were $420.1 million compared with $388.9 million for the same period a year ago. For the quarter, the company had net income of $15.8 million, or $0.75 per fully diluted share, compared with a net loss of $6.7 million, or $0.33 per share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2009.

Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms, Inc. said: "The results for the first quarter of fiscal 2010 reflect an improved overall poultry market compared with the first quarter of last year. Demand for chicken at the retail grocery level has remained good and current supply levels are balanced with consumer demand in that market. Our food service business remains soft, reflecting the prolonged slow-down in restaurant traffic caused by current economic conditions. We expect these demand trends to continue until we see a meaningful improvement in the national job market and consumers resume spending and dining out again. Our results for the first quarter also reflect lower overall feed costs compared with the prior year. Grain prices have come down over recent weeks in reaction to the USDA's January crop estimates, and we believe our feed costs for fiscal 2010 will remain below last year's levels."

According to Mr Sanderson, market prices for poultry products were mixed during the first quarter of fiscal 2010 compared with the same period of fiscal 2009, but were higher overall. A simple average of the Georgia dock price for whole chickens was approximately 5.3 per cent lower in the Company's first fiscal quarter compared with the same period in 2009. Boneless breast meat prices during the quarter were approximately 6.2 per cent higher than the prior-year period. The average market price for bulk leg quarters increased approximately 11.6 per cent for the quarter compared with the same period last year. The increase in leg quarter prices during the quarter is primarily due to better world economic and credit conditions compared with a year ago and more stable export demand. The bright spot in the poultry market is noted in jumbo wing prices, which averaged $1.57 per pound, up 36.4 per cent compared with an average of $1.15 per pound a year ago, reflecting strong seasonal demand during the football season. Feed costs, the Company's largest single component in cost of sales, decreased 4.6 per cent compared with the first quarter a year ago.

Mr Sanderson continued: "We are pleased with the start to fiscal 2010 and are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead. We believe that we have reached a more favourable industry balance of supply and demand levels for poultry products, and egg sets and breeder placements remain in check. The construction of our Kinston, North Carolina, plant is moving forward as planned and we expect to begin processing chickens at this location in January 2011."

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