US consumer-branded meat and food products firm Hormel Foods has reported fourth quarter net earnings of $81.7m, up from of $69.8m a year earlier. Sales totalled $1.5bn, up from $1.3bn in fiscal 2004.


For the year ended October 30, 2005, net earnings were $253.5 million compared to $218.9 million from adjusted earnings from operations a year ago. In fiscal 2004, GAAP earnings were $231.7m, which includes $12.8m of infrequently occurring transactions. Sales totalled $5.4 bn in fiscal 2005, up 13 percent from $4.8bn last year.


“We had a strong finish to an outstanding year,” said Joel W. Johnson, chairman of the board and chief executive officer. “All five segments reported year-over-year improved earnings in the fourth quarter, despite an extra week in last year’s quarter. The Jennie-O Turkey Store operation led the way with the largest operating profit improvement compared to last year. A combination of high turkey meat markets, lower feed costs and improved production efficiencies all contributed to the excellent performance.”


“The Grocery Products segment reported another quarter of improved top and bottom line results driven by double-digit growth from our microwave line of products. Also, lower pork costs, which decrease the cost of goods for items like the Spam family of products, are beginning to benefit this segment. We expect pork costs to be lower in 2006 compared to 2005. Specialty Foods, a segment we have been building over the last couple of years, reported improved operating profits from strong sales of core products like sugar substitutes.” Johnson said.


“Demand for our value-added protein products that are sold through our Refrigerated Foods segment continues to be good and the two acquisitions that were made earlier in the year, Lloyd’s Barbeque Company and Clougherty Packing Co., are meeting expectations. Within the All Other segment, our International division delivered improved operating profits driven by increased sales of the Spam family of products, Stagg chili and better results from our China operations,” Johnson commented.