Hormel Foods Stock Climbs on Full-Year Guidance

Hormel Foods (HRL) on Tuesday issued an upbeat outlook for fiscal 2017 and said its fourth-quarter profit rose 22%, boosted by its refrigerated foods segment and Jennie-O Turkey Store brand. The stock was up 3.32% to $36.10 in mid-morning trading today.

The Austin, MN-based owner of Skippy peanut butter and Spam canned meat products sees full-year earnings per share between $1.68 and $1.74. Analysts surveyed by FactSet are projecting earnings of $1.68 per share for fiscal 2017.

"In fiscal 2017, we expect to generate organic sales growth consistent with our long-term goal of five percent coupled with mid-single-digits earnings growth," CEO Jim Snee said in a statement. The results will likely be helped by increasing demand for its Jennie-O Turkey Store and other branded products, such as Skippy peanut butter and its acquisition of Justin's specialty nut butters earlier this year.

The company projects full-year growth internationally through higher exports and improved results from its China business, Snee added. Hormel also raised its fiscal 2017 dividend 17% to 68 cents per share.

For the 2016 fiscal fourth quarter, the company posted earnings of 45 cents per diluted share, in line with the FactSet consensus estimate. Revenue rose 9.5% to $2.63 billion year-over-year, slightly above Wall Street's projections of $2.62 billion.

During the most recent period, its refrigerated foods unit profit jumped 51%, helped by lower costs and "excellent" results from its food-service products such as Hormel pepperoni and Applegate deli meats. Net sales in the segment grew 7.6%. Refrigerated foods accounts for nearly half of Hormel's revenue.

Jennie-O Turkey Store segment profit rose 26%, while net sales climbed 29%. Grocery products net sales increased 16% over last year.

Yesterday, Hormel agreed to sell its Farmer John and Saag's Specialty Meats brands to meat processing company Smithfield Foods in a $145 million deal. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days.

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