* Fourth-quarter earnings $0.41/share vs est $0.32/share
* Fourth-quarter revenue $648.4 mln vs est $635.8 mln
* Says to hold down production through fiscal 2013
Dec 18 Sanderson Farms Inc, the No. 4
U.S. chicken producer, posted better-than-expected quarterly
results, helped by higher prices, and said it would hold down
production through fiscal 2013 until feed costs stabilize.
The worst U.S. drought in more than half a century earlier
this year boosted animal feed costs, leading chicken and meat
producers to reduce production.
Higher prices are expected to continue into 2013 and more
production cuts are likely.
Sanderson Farms said in August it would cut poultry
production by 2 percent. This followed a 4 percent cut announced
Bigger rival Pilgrim's Pride Corp said in October
that U.S. chicken production would likely fall 2 to 3 percent in
Market prices for whole chickens rose about 7.7 percent in
the fourth quarter from a year earlier, Sanderson said.
Net income was $9.3 million, or 41 cents per share, for the
quarter ended Oct. 31, compared with net loss of $21.56 million,
or 97 cents per share, a year earlier.
Net sales rose about 16 percent to $648.4 million.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 32 cents per
share on revenue of $635.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters
Shares of Laurel, Mississippi-based Sanderson Farms closed
at $49.77 on the Nasdaq on Monday.