Hormel Foods 4Q Narrows But Beats Street

Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL) reported a narrowed fourth-quarter profit on lower volumes and costs that led to a 19% drop in refrigerated food earnings, however it still beat expectations.

The Austin, Minn.-based maker of meat and food products said it earned $117.3 million, or 43 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $121 million, or 45 cents a share, just beating the Street’s view of 42 cents.

Revenue for the three months ended Oct. 30 was $2.1 billion, up 2% from $2.06 billion a year ago, below average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters $2.11 billion.

Volume was down 7% and impacted all of its business segments, particularly its refrigerated foods group, which saw operating profit slip 19%. While Jennie-O Turkey and Grocery Products all saw a slightly stronger profits, their volumes were lower and costs higher.

“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,” Hormel CEO Jeffrey Ettinger said in a statement.

The company announced a 17.6% increase in its annual dividend on Tuesday to 60 cents a share, marking the 46th consecutive year in which the company has increased its dividend.

Hormel forecast earnings of $1.79 to $1.89 a share, which is ahead of average estimates of $1.77 a share in a Thomson Reuters poll.