Hormel Foods reports fiscal Q4 net earnings of US$132.6M, up 13% from year-ago period, as sales rise 3% to US$2.2B

AUSTIN, Minnesota , November 20, 2012 (press release) – Hormel Foods Corporation (HRL) today reported its performance for the fiscal year 2012 fourth quarter and full year.

All comparisons are to the fourth quarter or full year of fiscal 2011.

HIGHLIGHTS

Fourth Quarter

Diluted EPS of $.49, up 14 percent from $.43 per share

Segment operating profit increased 4 percent

Dollar sales of $2.2 billion, increased 3 percent; volume up 2 percent

Grocery Products operating profit up 22 percent; volume up 17 percent (volume up 2 percent excluding sales of Don Miguel products); dollar sales up 21 percent (sales up 3 percent excluding sales of Don Miguel products)

Refrigerated Foods operating profit down 12 percent; volume flat; dollar sales down 3 percent

Jennie-O Turkey Store operating profit up 5 percent; volume down 2 percent; dollar sales up 5 percent

Specialty Foods operating profit up 8 percent; volume down 2 percent; dollar sales up 7 percent

All Other (primarily Hormel Foods International) operating profit up 24 percent; volume up 3 percent; dollar sales up 1 percent

Fiscal Year

Record diluted EPS of $1.86, up 7 percent from diluted EPS of $1.74

Segment operating profit up 1 percent

Record dollar sales of $8.2 billion, up 4 percent; volume flat

Grocery Products operating profit up 12 percent; volume up 6 percent (volume down 2 percent excluding sales of Don Miguel products); dollar sales up 10 percent (sales up 1 percent excluding sales of Don Miguel products)

Refrigerated Foods operating profit down 22 percent; volume down 1 percent; dollar sales up 1 percent

Jennie-O Turkey Store operating profit up 16 percent; volume down 2 percent; dollar sales up 6 percent

Specialty Foods operating profit up 8 percent; volume up 1 percent; dollar sales up 11 percent

All Other (primarily Hormel Foods International) operating profit up 38 percent; volume up 4 percent; dollar sales up 7 percent

The company reported fiscal 2012 fourth quarter net earnings of $132.6 million, up 13 percent from earnings of $117.3 million a year earlier. Diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.49, up 14 percent compared to $0.43 last year. Sales for the quarter were $2.2 billion, up 3 percent from the same period in fiscal 2011.

For the year ended October 28, 2012, net earnings were $500.1 million, up 5 percent from net earnings of $474.2 million last year. Diluted net earnings per share were $1.86, up 7 percent from diluted net earnings per share of $1.74 last year. Sales for the year ended October 28, 2012, totaled $8.2 billion, up 4 percent from last year.

COMMENTARY

“We achieved solid results in the quarter with earnings per share and sales up 14 percent and 3 percent, respectively. We are pleased to have generated both segment profit and sales increases in four out of five segments. We continue to enjoy sales and volume growth in many of our value-added franchises, demonstrating that our growth strategies are working,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer.

"In looking at the full year, we finished in the upper half of our guidance range. We delivered sales growth of 4 percent, ending the year at a record $8.2 billion, with all five segments registering increases. We also grew earnings per share by 7 percent, finishing at record earnings of $1.86 per share. We enjoyed another strong performance by our Jennie-O Turkey Store and International teams. Our Grocery Products and Specialty Foods segments also generated nice profit increases for the year. We enhanced our support of our key HORMEL and JENNIE-O TURKEY STORE brands in fiscal 2012 with effective advertising campaigns, and ran a new advertising campaign celebrating the 75th anniversary of our iconic SPAM brand. Finally, we met our goal of $2 billion in sales of new products by 2012," commented Ettinger.

"This morning we announced an $.08 per share increase to the annual dividend (or 13 percent), making the new dividend $.68 per share. This marks the 47th consecutive year in which we have increased our dividend, and provides further evidence of our intention to deliver superior total returns to our shareholders," stated Ettinger.

SEGMENT OPERATING HIGHLIGHTS – FOURTH QUARTER

Grocery Products (16% of Net Sales, 26% of Total Segment Operating Profit)

The Grocery Products segment profit increased 22 percent, led by strong sales of the SPAM® family of products and the portfolio of products within our MegaMex Foods joint venture. Sales for the quarter were up 21 percent, with contributions by the aforementioned products and HORMEL® chili.

Refrigerated Foods (49% of Net Sales, 30% of Total Segment Operating Profit)

Refrigerated Foods segment profit declined 12 percent, as strong results in our value-added businesses were not able to fully offset lower pork operating margins and losses in our live hog operations. Sales for the quarter were down 3 percent, due to lower commodity meat prices. Value-added products grew in the quarter, led by HORMEL® pepperoni and party trays in the Meat Products group and HORMEL® NATURAL CHOICE® deli meats in the Foodservice group.

Jennie-O Turkey Store (20% of Net Sales, 26% of Total Segment Operating Profit)

Jennie-O Turkey Store had another solid quarter, with segment profit up 5 percent. The continued sales growth of value-added products and an improved product mix offset higher feed costs during the quarter. Sales for the quarter increased 5 percent, led by sales of JENNIE-O TURKEY STORE® fresh tray pack, turkey bacon and turkey burgers.

Specialty Foods (11% of Net Sales, 12% of Total Segment Operating Profit)

The Specialty Foods segment posted operating profits 8 percent higher than last year on a 7 percent increase in sales. Higher sales of private label canned meats contributed to the improved results.

All Other (4% of Net Sales, 6% of Total Segment Operating Profit)

The All Other segment, which consists primarily of Hormel Foods International, posted segment profits that were 24 percent ahead of last year, while sales grew 1 percent. Strong export sales to Canada and improved margins in the SPAM® family of products contributed to the results.

General Corporate Expense

General corporate expenses were lower, driven principally by a reduction in the lower of cost or market inventory reserve and lower employee related costs.

OUTLOOK

"We expect to deliver sales and earnings growth in fiscal 2013. In particular, we are looking for our Refrigerated Foods, Grocery Products, Specialty Foods and All Other (International) segments to drive profit growth in fiscal 2013, as our Jennie-O Turkey Store segment goes up against higher grain costs and historically high results. We plan on making additional cuts to both our turkey and pork harvest levels during fiscal 2013, to reduce our exposure to volatile commodity markets. Taking all of the relevant factors into account, we are setting our 2013 guidance range at $1.90 to $2.00 per share," remarked Ettinger.

DIVIDENDS

Effective November 15, 2012, the Company paid its 337th consecutive quarterly dividend, at the annual rate of $.60.

CONFERENCE CALL

A conference call will be webcast at 8:00 a.m. CT on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. Access is available at http://www.hormelfoods.com. If you do not have Internet access and want to listen to the call over the phone, the dial-in number is 877-941-0844 and the access code is 4573285. An audio replay is available by calling 800-406-7325 and entering access code 4573285. The audio replay will be available beginning at 10:30 a.m. CT on Tuesday, November 20, 2012, through 11:59 p.m. CT on November 27, 2012. The Webcast replay will be available at 10:30 a.m. CT, Tuesday, November 20, 2012, and archived for one year.

About Hormel Foods

Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer-branded food and meat products, many of which are among the best known and trusted in the food industry. The company leverages its extensive expertise, innovation and high competencies in pork and turkey processing and marketing to bring branded, value-added products to the global marketplace. The company is a member of the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 Index, S&P Dividend Aristocrats for 2012, Maplecroft Climate Innovation Indexes, Global 1000 Sustainable Performance Leaders and was again named one of "The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine for the fourth year in a row. The company enjoys a strong reputation among consumers, retail grocers, foodservice and industrial customers for products highly regarded for quality, taste, nutrition, convenience and value. For more information, visit http://www.hormelfoods.com.

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