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Cal-Maine reports another record year

Jack Weatherly

Cal-Maine Foods reported on Monday another record year in egg sales – 1.06 billion dozen – and a record net annual income of $1.58 billion.

The Jackson-based company, the largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs in the nation, has thus far dodged the avian flu that devastated the poultry industry in the Midwest starting in April and resulted in a spike in the price of eggs.

Cal-Maine shares hit a 52-week high of nearly $60 in mid-May. Its shares closed on Monday at $54.10, down 21 cents on the Nasdaq stock market.

Net sales for the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended May 30, were $403 million compared with $371.6 million a year earlier. Net sales for the year were $1.576 million, compared with $1.441 million for the previous year.

The egg producer reported earnings of 95 cents per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ target of $1.04, according to TheStreet.

Earnings per share reflected a two-for-one split effective Oct. 31.

The avian flu hit the Midwest hard in April, resulting in a spike in egg prices.

There has not been a reported outbreak in four weeks and “everybody’s got his fingers crossed,” said Randy Pesciotta, vice president of the egg division of Urner Barry, a commodities reporting service in Bayville, N.J.

Cal-Maine Chairman and Chief Executive Dolph Baker said in a release that “specialty eggs were a key driver of our performance for the year as we continued to expand our market reach. For fiscal 2015, sales of specialty eggs [organic, free range and nutritionally enhanced] accounted for 19.8 percent of our total number of shell eggs sold and 27.2 percent of our shell eggs revenue.”

Baker noted Cal-Maine’s joint venture in Texas with Rose Acre Farms with a capacity for 1.8 million cage-free hens, with placement of flocks expected in November.

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