Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Cal-Maine Foods reports results for fiscal 2024 second quarter

PT Editor — David Strickland

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RIDGELAND, Miss. — Cal-Maine Foods Inc., the largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs in the United States, has reported results for the second quarter of fiscal 2024.

Highlights include: quarterly net sales of $523.2 million; quarterly net income of $17 million or 35 cents per basic and diluted common share; cash dividend of $5.7 million, or 11.6 cents per share, pursuant to the company’s established dividend policy

“Cal-Maine Foods delivered a solid financial and operating performance for the second quarter of fiscal 2024 in the face of dynamic market conditions,” Sherman Miller, president and CEO of Cal-Maine Foods, said. “Our sales reflect a different market environment from a year ago, with significantly lower average selling prices. However, our total volumes sold were up slightly over a year ago, as consumer demand for shell eggs continued to be favorable in the quarter, especially leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. As always, we strive to offer consumers a wide range of quality choices in shell eggs as well as enhanced egg products offerings. Our ability to meet changing demand trends with a favorable product mix has been an important differentiator for Cal-Maine Foods. With solid execution, we continued to meet the needs of our customers. We commend our managers and employees across our production facilities who continued to efficiently manage our operations and keep pace with changing demand.”

“During the second quarter, we completed the acquisition of the assets of Fassio Egg Farms Inc. a shell egg production and processing business located in Erda, Utah, outside of Salt Lake City,” Miller added. “The additional production capacity, especially for cage-free eggs, will enhance our ability to serve our valued customers in this important market area. We welcome the Fassio team to Cal-Maine Foods as we apply our proven operating model and further expand our cage-free production capabilities.”

“Following the end of the second quarter, we announced a definitive agreement to acquire from Tyson Foods Inc. a recently closed broiler processing plant, hatchery and feed mill located in Dexter, Mo.,” Miller said. “We expect to complete the acquisition in our third fiscal quarter and to repurpose the assets for use in egg and egg products production. We look forward to the opportunities to leverage the added production and distribution capabilities and reach more customers in Missouri and surrounding markets.”

· Sales performance & operating highlights

“For the second quarter of fiscal 2024, our net sales were $523.2 million compared with $801.7 million for the same period last year,” Max Bowman, vice president and chief financial officer of Cal-Maine Foods, added. “The decline in sales revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2024 was primarily due to the significant decrease in the net average selling price for conventional eggs. However, our sales volumes improved slightly with 288.2 million total dozens sold in the second quarter of fiscal 2024 compared with 284.1 million, an increase of 1.4%, over the same period last year.”

“Net income attributable to Cal-Maine Foods Inc. for the second quarter of fiscal 2024 was $17 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, compared with $198.6 million, or $4.07 per diluted share, for the second quarter of fiscal 2023,” Bowman said. “These results include a $19.6 million loss contingency accrual, reflected in SG&A expenses, for our estimated share of damages and fees awarded in a pending anti-trust legal proceeding. We are still pursuing legal actions to reverse, and if necessary, appeal the decisions.”

“While conventional egg prices improved sequentially, the net average selling price per dozen was $1.458 for conventional eggs in the second quarter of fiscal 2024, down 49.4 percent compared with $2.883 for the prior-year quarter,” Bowman noted. “Net average selling price for specialty eggs was $2.277 per dozen, compared with $2.370 per dozen for the second quarter of fiscal 2023, a decline of 3.9 percent. Specialty dozens sold were 33.2 percent of total dozens sold in the second quarter of fiscal 2024 compared with 33.8 percent in the prior-year period. Cage-free eggs accounted for approximately 30.4% of shell egg revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2024.”

“We reported operating income of $14.2 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2024, compared with operating income of $259.9 million for the prior-year quarter, primarily reflecting lower market prices,” Bowman added. “However, we benefitted from lower feed ingredient prices compared with the same period a year ago. We continued to focus on the aspects of our business we can control and managed our operations efficiently despite higher input costs at our production, processing and distribution centers, as well as ongoing investments in enhanced biosecurity measures to mitigate the risk of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

“Current indications for corn project an overall better stocks-to-use ratio implying potentially lower prices in the near term; however, as we continue to face uncertain external forces including weather patterns and global supply chain disruptions, volatility could remain. Soybean meal supply has remained tight relative to demand in the second quarter of fiscal 2024.”

· HPAI & table egg supply outlook

Outbreaks of HPAI have continued to occur in U.S. poultry flocks. Prior to November 2023, there were no reported significant outbreaks of HPAI in commercial table egg layer flocks since December 2022. On Jan. 3, 2024, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported that approximately 12.9 million commercial table egg layers and 1.5 million commercial table egg pullets have been depopulated as a result of HPAI outbreaks since the beginning of November 2023.

Cal-Maine Foods experienced an HPAI outbreak within its facilities in Kansas, resulting in depopulation of approximately 1.5 million laying hens and 240 thousand pullets, or approximately 3.3 percent of its total flock, subsequent to quarter end. Cal-Maine Foods believes that it can mitigate the loss of production through flock rotations. The Company remains dedicated to robust biosecurity programs across its locations; however, no farm is immune from HPAI. HPAI is still present in the wild bird population and the extent of possible future outbreaks, with heightened risk during the migration seasons, cannot be predicted. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these detections do not present an immediate public health concern, Cal-Maine noted.

The company believes the HPAI outbreak will continue to affect the overall supply of eggs until the layer hen flock is fully replenished. The layer hen flock five-year monthly average for the month of December from 2018 through 2022 was 330.1 million hens. According to the USDA, the U.S. flock consisted of 321.6 million layers producing table or market type eggs as of Dec. 1, 2023, which is 2.6 percent below the five-year average.

· Looking ahead

“We are pleased with our ability to effectively manage our business through the first half of fiscal 2024, as we have continued to deal with the impact of HPAI,” Miller said. “We are proud of our team’s resilience and ability to quickly respond to the challenges we have faced. Our proven operating model supports our ability to manage our operations through the various cycles that characterize our business. Cal-Maine Foods is uniquely positioned to leverage our scale and continue to meet growing customer demand.”

“We are also mindful of our important role as a contributor to the nation’s food supply with an affordable and nutritious protein portfolio,” Miller added. “We remain focused on our strategy to invest in our operations to expand capacity; pursue synergistic acquisition opportunities; and support long-term growth through investment in innovative, scale-driven products and facilities. We are fortunate to have a strong balance sheet and a disciplined capital allocation strategy that supports our growth objectives. We look forward to the opportunities ahead for Cal-Maine Foods.”

For the second quarter of fiscal 2024, Cal-Maine Foods will pay a cash dividend of approximately 11.6 cents per share to holders of its common and Class A common stock. Pursuant to Cal-Maine Foods’ variable dividend policy, for each quarter in which the company reports net income, the company pays a cash dividend to shareholders in an amount equal to one-third of such quarterly income. Following a quarter for which the company does not report net income, the company will not pay a dividend with respect to that quarter or for a subsequent profitable quarter until the company is profitable on a cumulative basis computed from the date of the most recent quarter for which a dividend was paid. The amount paid per share will vary based on the number of outstanding shares on the record date. The dividend is payable on Feb. 15, 2024, to holders of record on Jan. 31, 2024.

For more information about Cal-Maine Foods, visit www.calmainefoods.com.

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