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Egg indicator shows prices up

The nation’s largest egg producer said premium prices for specialty products and an acquisition allowed it to growth sales and nearly double profits during its second quarter.

Cal-Maine Foods said sales for its second quarter ended November 30 increased 8% to $354.3 million due in large part to the acquisition of Maxim Production Co., on November 15. The company said it sold 252.7 million dozen eggs, an increase of nearly 6.2%. Excluding volumes related to the acquisition, sales would have increased a more modest 1.6% while unit volumes would have declined 1.3%. Consolidated profits during the quarter increased to $26.1 million, or $1.09 a share, compared to $14.8 million, or 60 cents a share, during the second quarter the prior year.

“Our specialty egg sales continued to trend higher and accounted for 16.4% of dozens sold and 23.7% of total shell egg sales revenue for the quarter,” said Cal-Maine chairman, president and CEO Dolph Baker. “Specialty eggs are an important area of focus for Cal-Maine Food’s growth strategy as they continue to gain popularity with consumers who are looking for alternatives and willing to pay for premium products.”

Specialty egg prices, which are typically higher and less cyclical than regular egg prices, increased 4.1% during the quarter, according to the company.

According to Baker, the company experienced favorable egg markets during the quarter even though feed costs remain at historically high levels.

“We are optimistic feed costs will remain near current levels, but believe that prices of corn and soybean meal, our principal feed ingredients, will remain volatile for the balance of our fiscal year,” Baker said.