Hormel Foods Corp HRL
Q3 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 08/23/2012

Operator: Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Hormel Foods' Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call. During today's presentation all parties will be in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation, the conference will be open for questions. This conference call is being recorded today, August 23, 2012.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Kevin Jones. Please go ahead.

Kevin C. Jones - Director, IR: Thank you. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Hormel Foods conference call for the third quarter of fiscal 2012. We released our results this morning before the market opened around 6.30 a.m. Eastern Time. If you did not receive a copy of the release, you can find it on our website at, under the Investors section.

On our call today is Jeff Ettinger, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer and Jody Feragen, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Jeff will provide a review of the operating results for the quarter. Then Jody will provide detailed financial results for the quarter. The line will be opened for questions following Jody's remarks. As a courtesy to the other analysts with questions, please limit your questions to one question and one follow-up. If you have further questions, you can get back into the queue.

An audio replay of this call will be available beginning at 10.30 a.m. Central Time today, August 23, 2012. The dial-in number is 800-406-7325, and the access code is 4556709. It will also be posted to our website and archived for one year.

Before we get started with the results of the quarter, I need to reference the Safe Harbor statement. Some of the comments made today will be forward-looking and are made under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed in or implied by the statements we will be making. Among the factors that may affect the operating results of the Company are fluctuations in the cost and availability of raw materials and market conditions for finished products. Please refer to the cautionary and risk factors on pages 30 through 36 in the Company's 10-Q for the quarter ended April 29, 2012, which was filed with the SEC on June 8, 2012 for more details. It can be accessed on our website.

Now, I'll turn the call over to Jeff.

Jeffrey M. Ettinger - Chairman, President and CEO: Thank you Kevin. Good morning everyone. We're pleased to report record earnings and sales for the third quarter. Earnings for the quarter were $0.41 per share, up 14% for earnings of $0.36 a share a year ago. All five segments registered gains in segment profits. Total dollar sales topped $2 billion, an increase of 5% over here on solid volume growth of 4%.

I will not take you through each segment. Our Grocery Products team delivered an operating profit increase of 32% and in dollar sales an increase of 21% for the third quarter. You may recall that we began including Don Miguel sales in our Grocery Products segment results this past quarter. Sales for Grocery Products grew 3% excluding Don Miguel in the quarter. Among the contributors to sales growth in this segment were our SPAM family of products, HORMEL COMPLEATS microwave meals and our MegaMex portfolio.

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