US poultry producer and processor Sanderson Farms has posted a 66% rise in quarterly earnings, helped by steady poultry prices and improved operations in the chicken market.

The company reported earnings of US$15.4m, or $1.17 per share, for the third quarter to 31 July, compared with earnings of $9.3m, or 70 cents per share, a year earlier.

The Laurel, Mississippi-based company said sales rose around 15% to $232.2m for the third quarter.

Sanderson Farms said it expects firm market conditions for the rest of the year and now expects earnings of $2.60 per share for the full year, excluding special items. This compares to a previous profit forecast of $2.40 to $2.50 per share, reported Reuters.