“Market conditions steadily improved during our first fiscal quarter as our grain costs peaked in November,” Sanderson added. “Market prices and sales strengthened in January and, as a result, the Company was profitable for the last month of the quarter.” However, we continue to experience high grain prices, and expect a challenging cost environment throughout the fiscal year. Corn supplies are at their tightest level in 15 years, which will likely keep upward pressure on grain costs at least until the market gets some visibility into the quantity and quality of the 2013 crops.
“Throughout most all of calendar 2012, egg sets and pullet placements remained below previous year levels, but have trended higher over the past few weeks. Despite slightly higher chicken production, market prices have remained the same or moved higher, indicating at least some improvement in demand. We are cautiously optimistic regarding macroeconomic conditions, and believe any further strengthening of the United States economy, coupled with normal seasonal demand improvement this spring and summer, could support higher market prices for our poultry products.
“We have been running our plants at approximately 94 percent capacity since October, which has adversely affected our costs. In order to meet our customers’ demands and improve our cost structure, we will move our plants to full production in June. While grain costs remain relatively high, this move is supported by demand from our customers and our desire to keep our costs competitive,” concluded Sanderson.
Sanderson Farms will hold a conference call to discuss this press release today, February 21, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. Central, 11:00 a.m. Eastern. Investors will have the opportunity to listen to a live Internet broadcast of the conference call through the Company's Web site at www.sandersonfarms.com or through www.earnings.com. To listen to the live call, please go to the Web site at least 15 minutes early to register, download, and install any necessary audio software. For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, an Internet replay will be available shortly after the call and continue through March 4, 2013. Those without Internet access may participate in the call by dialing 888-724-9496; confirmation code 7405481.Sanderson Farms, Inc. is engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen chicken and further processed and partially cooked chicken products. Its shares trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol SAFM.