(By Balachander) Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE:HRL) reported a 12 percent rise in quarterly earnings, helped by sales gains at four of its five segments, and the company backed its forecast for the year. Quarterly results were in line with market expectations.
Net earnings increased to $112.41 million or $0.41 per share for the third quarter from $99.97 million or $0.36 per share in the year-ago period.
Sales grew 5.1 percent to $2.00 billion.
Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.41 per share on sales growth of 5.1 percent to $2.01 billion.
Segment wise, sales at grocery products jumped 21 percent, while refrigerated foods fell 0.2 percent. Jennie-O Turkey Store (JOTS) and specialty foods recorded sales growth of 7.3 percent and 11 percent, respectively. All other segment sales gained 1.8 percent.
The company noted lower pork operating margins hurt results at refrigerated foods segment.
Sales at grocery products were boosted by strong sales of the company's SPAM family of products and from its MegaMex Foods joint venture. Higher value-added sales and an improved product mix drove results at JOTS, Hormel Foods commented.
Looking ahead for the full year, the Austin, Minnesota-based company still forecasts earnings per share in the range of $1.79 to $1.89, while analysts expect $1.85 for the 12 months ending October 2012.
Earlier this month, one of the company's key competitors Tyson Foods Inc.(NYSE:TSN) posted lower earnings for the third quarter due to a loss of $167 million on early extinguishment of debt and the meat processor warned of lower 2012 profit amid softer-than-expected domestic demand for protein.
HRL shares ended Wednesday's regular trading at $28.42. The stock has been trading in the 52-week range between $25.87 and $30.70.