US food maker Hormel Foods has reported a 59% rise in quarterly net earnings helped by strong demand for its value-added meat products.

The company reported net earnings of US$53.7m, or 38 cents per share, for the second quarter to 24 April, compared to earnings of $33.8m, or 24 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Sales totalled $1.1bn, up from $1.0bn in the same period last year.

“The success of our value-added pork and turkey products continued in the second quarter, delivering better-than-expected performance,” said Joel W. Johnson, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer.

“Despite increased cost pressures from the grain markets, our protein businesses, refrigerated foods and Jennie-O Turkey Store reported outstanding results because of the strong demand for our branded, value-added products. With dollar sales up 22%, our foodservice business unit, of the refrigerated foods segment, was an important component of our performance,” Johnson added.

The company said its international business had reported strong export results, with volume up 27%, driven by “exceptional international demand” for pork products.

“After assessing industry factors and our own business plans and prospects, our earnings guidance for the third quarter is in a range of 30 to 36 cents per share. For the full year of fiscal 2004, our earnings guidance is in a range of $1.50 to $1.62,” Johnson concluded.