UPDATE 2-Sanderson Farms posts loss, feed costs hurt

Tue May 24, 2011 8:39am EDT

* Q2 adj share loss $0.56 vs year ago EPS $1.62

* Rev $479.3 million vs yr ago $487.1 million

* Feed costs up 41.3 pct, breast meat prices down (Adds details, CHICAGO dateline)

CHICAGO, May 24, (Reuters) - U.S. chicken producer Sanderson Farms Inc (SAFM.O) Inc reported a quarterly loss as the company coped with higher feed costs and lower chicken prices, but the results beat Wall Street estimates.

The Laurel, Mississippi-based company reported a loss of $16.28 million, or 74 cents per share, for the quarter ended April 30, compared with a year-earlier profit of $35.09 million, or $1.62 per share.

Minus a $6 million charge for inventory value adjustment, the loss was $12.3 million, or 56 cents a share.

Wall Street expected a loss of 85 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue slipped to $479.34 million from $487.1 million.

Feed costs rose 41.3 percent in the quarter and should stay high for the rest of the year, the company said. Feed costs are up due to strong demand for corn by livestock producers, grain exporters and the ethanol industry.

High gasoline prices and high unemployment have hurt restaurant sales, while grocery sales and exports have remained strong, the company said.

For the quarter, breast meat prices were down 10.6 percent, wings down 45.5 percent. A resumption of exports to Russia pushed leg quarter prices up 45.5 percent.

Sanderson's shares closed Monday at $45.99 in Nasdaq trading, up 17.5 percent year-to-date, but down from its 52-week high of 55.67 in June last year. (Additional reporting by Abhishek Takle in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Dave Zimmerman)

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