Cal-Maine Foods Boosts Revenues, Profits on Record High Egg Prices

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Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: CALM) reported first-quarter fiscal 2016 results before markets opened Monday. The egg producer reported quarterly diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.95 on total revenues of $609.9 million. In the same period a year ago, Cal-Maine reported EPS of $0.57 on revenue of $356.9 million. First-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $3.14 and revenues of $599.94 million.

The company expects to pay a first quarter dividend of $0.983 per share, in accordance with the company’s variable dividend policy. For each quarter when Cal-Maine reports net income, the company pays a cash dividend equal to one-third of that income. In quarters when the company posts a loss, no dividend is paid.

The outbreak of avian flu that hit the U.S. chicken and egg suppliers earlier this year has led to record high egg prices. The chairman, president and CEO of Cal-Maine, Dolph Baker, said:

Overall sales were up 70.9 percent over the prior year period, as average selling prices for shell eggs spiked to record levels during the first quarter and were up 65.7 percent compared with the same period last year. … Our industry is still feeling the effects of the substantial reduction in the national laying hen flock that occurred this past spring related to the Avian Influenza (AI) outbreaks in the upper Midwestern United States. We believe that egg prices will remain very high until the supply situation returns to more normal levels.

The company offered no guidance, but consensus estimates for the fiscal second quarter ending in November call for EPS of $3.51 on revenues of $650.58 million. For the 2016 fiscal year, analysts are looking for $11.83 in EPS and $2.39 billion in revenues. In the 2015 fiscal year, Cal-Maine posted EPS of $3.33 on revenues of $1.58 billion.

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In the first quarter, Cal-Maine sold nearly 259 million dozen eggs at a net average selling price of $2.243 per dozen. In the year ago quarter, the company sold about 252 million dozen eggs at a net average selling price of $1.354 per dozen. Feed costs fell in the quarter from $0.484 per dozen a year ago to $0.419 per dozen.

Shares closed Friday at $57.64, in a 52-week trading range of $34.03 to $60.72. Shares were inactive in Monday’s premarket. Thomson/Reuters has a consensus price target of $66.00 on the stock.