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Sanderson Farms sees improved quarter

LAUREL — Sanderson Farms Inc. saw net sales during the first fiscal quarter ended Jan. 31, 2010 of $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.

“The results for the first quarter of fiscal 2010 reflect an improved overall poultry market compared with the first quarter of last year,” said Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms. “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 slowdown 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 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.

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