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Cal-Maine sees increased sales, but profits tumble 22 percent

JACKSON — Cal-Maine Foods Inc., the egg seller and distributor, said today that its fiscal third-quarter profit tumbled 22 percent, weighed down by rising feed costs.

President and CEO Dolph Baker said in a statement that the company expects feed costs will remain very high and volatile throughout the summer due to tight supplies of corn and soybeans, which are Cal-Maine’s primary feed ingredients.

The company reported that its net income fell to $26.1 million, or $1.09 per share, for the period ended Feb. 25, down from $33.6 million, or $1.40 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue increased 11 percent to $303.7 million from $274.7 million on higher average selling prices and solid demand for shell eggs.

Average selling prices for shell eggs climbed 3.3 percent in the quarter, while specialty egg prices rose 9 percent. Specialty eggs include nutritionally enhanced, cage-free and organic eggs.

Feed costs climbed 4.5 cents per dozen eggs from a year ago.

The company said it would pay a third-quarter dividend of about 36.4 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on May 10 to shareholders of record on April 25.

Cal-Maine shares finished at $41.95 in trading last Friday. They hit a 52-week high of $42.38 on March 14 and traded as low as $27.51 in early May 2011.

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