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Cal-Maine shares soar on earnings report

By JACK WEATHERLY

Shares of Jackson-based Cal-Maine Foods Inc., the nation’s largest in-shell eggs producer, skyrocketed on Monday after the company reported exceptional earnings for its third fiscal quarter.

Net income was $64.2 million, or $1.33 per share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2016, ending Feb. 27, compared with $50.9 million, or $1.06 per share, for the year-earlier quarter.

Earnings per share exceeded the Wall Street consensus of 99 cents, according to The Street.

Shares of Cal-Maine closed up 8.8 percent in trading on the Nasdaq stock market on Monday, rising $4.39 to reach $54.51.

“While average selling prices for shell eggs for the third quarter of fiscal 2016 have dropped considerably from the historically high record levels we experienced earlier in the fiscal year, they were still up 4.3 percent over the third quarter of fiscal 2015,” Chairman, President and Chief Executive Dolph Baker said in a release.

Sales revenue for the third quarter ending Feb. 27  was $449.8 million, a 2.8 percent increase over $437.6 million for third quarter fiscal 2015.

Volume was 277.6 million dozens for the 13-week period ending Feb. 27, compared with 283 million a year earlier, according to the release.

Laying hen supply has steadily moved up since the outbreak of avian influenza in the spring of 2015, Baker said. Cal-Maine has avoided being struck by the flu.

“We continue to diligently monitor the situation related to (avian flu). . . . There have been no positive tests for AI at any of the Cal-Maine Foods locations; however, we have strengthened our biosecurity measures at all of our facilities,” Baker said.

Sales volumes of specialty eggs – including organic, cage-free and enriched – were up 13.7 percent for the quarter, accounting for nearly 24 percent of sales.

“We are pleased with the continued progress with respect to our joint venture with Rose Acre Farms in Texas. This important joint venture has allowed us to significantly expand our production of cage-free eggs while sharing the costs and risks with an experienced partner,” Baker said.

Cal-Maine was founded by Fred Adams in 1958 in Mendenhall and now has 131 facilities in 15 states.

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