(By Balachander) Smithfield Foods Inc. (NYSE: SFD) reported quarterly earnings that topped market expectations as volumes grew, while sales trailed consensus amid lower meat and live hog prices.
Non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS) of 61 cents beat Wall Street projections of 45 cents for the second quarter.
Including a pre-tax early debt extinguishment charge of $120.7 million, second-quarter net income was $10.9 million, compared with $120.7 million in the year-ago quarter.
The Smithfield, Virginia-based company's sales fell 2.7 percent to $3.22 billion versus consensus estimate of a drop of 0.30 percent.
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Total volume rose 2 percent.
Consolidated operating margins were a positive 6 percent, compared with positive 7 percent in the same period of last year.
Fresh pork margins were 8 percent versus 7 percent a year ago and Hog production margins were a negative 4 percent compared with positive 8 percent last year.
Operating margins at the company's International segment were a positive 11 percent, mainly due to robust results its Eastern European hog production operations, Smithfield Foods said.
"Looking forward, fiscal 2013 should be another very strong year for company," said CEO Larry Pope. "The future growth prospects for our company are strong and we are optimistic that the best is yet to come."
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range between $17.55 and $25.12, closed Wednesday's regular trading at $22.90.