Higher prices help Hormel 1Q net rise 34 percent

Associated Press
In this Feb. 9, 2011 photo, Hormel Spam  products are displayed on a shelf in a Bethel Park, Pa., grocery. Hormel Foods Corp. said Tuesday, Feb. 22, stronger sales drove its first-quarter net income up 34 percent, and it raised its full-year outlook. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Hormel Foods Corp.'s first-quarter net income jumped 34 percent on stronger sales and higher prices, and the company raised its full-year outlook.

The maker of products including Spam and Dinty Moore stew reported Tuesday that it earned $148.8 million, or 55 cents per share. That's up from $111.2 million, or 41 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 11 percent to $1.92 billion, as sales volume grew across all of its business segments.

The results beat analyst expectations for earnings of 43 cents per share on revenue of $1.86 billion, according to data from FactSet.

Hormel, like many food makers, has raised prices to offset higher costs for ingredients such as grain. The company already announced plans to raise prices 3 to 4 percent on an array of products during the fiscal year.

While higher costs hurt its grocery products and specialty foods businesses, Jennie-O turkey and refrigerated foods had some costs decline. That, along with strong sales and some improved efficiency in operations turned Jennie-O and the refrigerated business into the standouts for the period.

Hormel expects ingredient and raw material prices to continue to rise this year and plans to offset those pressures with higher prices and improved efficiency.

"There are always going to be macro conditions we are going to deal with," Hormel's CEO Jeffrey Ettinger said. "But in the long run, our focus is on building our branded franchises."

The company, based in Austin, Minn., raised its full-year guidance from $1.55 to $1.60 per share to $1.62 to $1.68 per share. Analysts forecast $1.61.

Shares of Hormel rose 42 cents to close at $27.34.

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