Hormel Foods Corp. reported its performance for the fiscal year 2011 fourth quarter and full year. The company reported fiscal 2011 fourth quarter net earnings of $117.3 million, down 3 percent from earnings of $121.1 million a year earlier. Diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.43, down 4 percent compared to $0.45 last year. Sales for the quarter were $2.1 billion, up 2 percent from the same period in fiscal 2010.

For the year ended October 30, 2011, net earnings were $474.2 million, up 16 percent from adjusted net earnings of $409.0 million last year, and up 20 percent from U.S. GAAP net earnings of $395.6 million. Diluted net earnings per share were $1.74, up 15 percent from diluted adjusted1 net earnings per share of $1.51 last year and up 19 percent from U.S. GAAP diluted earnings per share of $1.46. Sales for the year ended October 30, 2011, totaled $7.9 billion, up 9 percent from last year.

“I am proud of the team for finishing an outstanding year with a fourth quarter that met our expectations. For the quarter, we are pleased to have generated segment profit increases in four out of five segments and an overall net sales increase. Our tonnage was down in comparison with the 14 week quarter last year, but we held our own on volumes in the face of significant pricing actions,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and CEO.

"In looking at the full year, we delivered significant sales growth of 9 percent, ending the year at a record $7.9 billion, with all five segments registering increases. We also grew earnings per share by an excellent 19 percent, finishing at record earnings of $1.74 per share. We enjoyed a particularly strong performance by the Jennie-O Turkey Store team, and both our All Other (International) and Refrigerated Foods segments also generated nice profit increases for the year. We enhanced our support of our key Hormel and Jennie-O Turkey Store brands in fiscal 2011 with effective advertising campaigns, and added to the portfolio of our fast-growing MegaMex Foods joint venture through the acquisition of the Wholly Guacamole line and other related products," commented Ettinger.

"This morning we announced a $.09 per share increase to the annual dividend (or 17.6 percent), making the new dividend $.60 per share. This marks the 46th consecutive year in which we have increased our dividend, and further evidences our intention to deliver superior total returns to our shareholders," stated Ettinger.

"We expect to deliver sales and earnings growth in fiscal 2012, even amidst some difficult comparisons and less-than-favorable macro conditions. In particular, we are looking for our Grocery Products, Specialty Foods and All Other (International) units to drive profit growth in fiscal 2012, as our Refrigerated Foods and Jennie-O Turkey Store segments maintain their position against historically high results. We also anticipate the comparisons to be more difficult in the first half of the year, becoming more favorable later in the year. Taking all of the relevant factors into account, we are setting our 2012 guidance range at $1.79 to $1.89 per share," remarked Ettinger.

Source: Hormel Foods Corp.