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Cal-Maine's profits soar; Baker replacing Adams as chairman

JACKSON — Egg producer Cal-Maine Foods says its net income grew more than five-fold in its fiscal fourth quarter as it produced and sold more eggs in the period on stronger consumer demand and got a lift from a one-time gain related to a joint venture.

Cal-Maine said its average selling price rose 9.7 percent for the year thanks to the sale of specialty eggs, which includes organic eggs. The company anticipates that specialty eggs will continue to gain market share over regular eggs as consumers looking to eat healthier buy more specialty eggs.

But the company expects that feed costs will continue to escalate near term, particularly due to the summer drought and damage to the country’s corn crop.

For the period ended June 2 the company reported net income of $37.3 million, or $1.56 per share, up sharply from $7.3 million, or 30 cents per share, a year earlier.

The latest results included a gain of approximately $27 million, or $1.12 per share, from Eggland’s Best Inc. distribution, which is related to a joint venture between Eggland’s and Land O’ Lakes Inc.

Cal-Maine is an Eggland’s Best shareholder and markets and distributes Eggland’s Best specialty eggs in New York City as well as in several states in the South.

Revenue increased to $275.2 million from $242.4 million, up 14 percent. The current quarter had an extra week than a year ago. The number of eggs produced climbed 8.6 percent, while the number of eggs sold rose 11 percent.

President and CEO Dolph Baker said in a statement that the extra week of sales in the quarter was offset somewhat by less Easter-related business due to a shift in the timing of the holiday from the previous year.

For the year, Cal-Maine’s net income increased 48 percent to $89.7 million, or $3.75 per share, from $60.8 million, or $2.54 per share, a year earlier.

Annual revenue climbed to $1.11 billion from $942 million. This marks the first time that the company has seen its annual sales top $1 billion.

Cal-Maine said it would pay a fourth-quarter dividend of about 52 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Aug. 26 to shareholders of record on Aug. 11.

On Friday, Cal-Maine Foods said that CEO Baker would take on the additional role of chairman after Fred Adams Jr., who is the company’s founder, resigned due to health reasons. The company did not specify Adams’ health issues and named him chairman emeritus.

Adams founded Cal-Maine as Adams Egg Co. in 1957. The company says it’s now the largest producer and distributor of fresh eggs in the United States and does most its business in 29 states.



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