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Hormel Foods Corp HRL
Q4 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 11/20/2012

Operator: Good day ladies and gentlemen and thank you for standing by and welcome to the Hormel Foods' Fourth 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 is being recorded today, Tuesday, November, 20, 2012.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Kevin Jones, Director of Investor Relations. Go ahead, sir.

Kevin C. Jones - Director, IR: Thank you. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Hormel Foods conference call for the fourth quarter of our 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 www.hormelfoods.com, 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 and the year and our guidance for fiscal 2013. Then Jody will provide detailed financial results for the quarter and the year. 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 question. 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, November 20, 2012. The dial-in number is 800-406-7325, and the access code is 4482517. 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 pages 32 through 38 in the Company's 10-Q for the quarter ended July 29, 2012, filed September 7, 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: Thanks, Kevin and good morning, everyone. We are pleased to report solid results for the fourth quarter. Earnings per share were $0.49, up 14% from a year ago on sales of $2.2 billion, a 3% increase. As another example of our balanced business model and action, we generated segment profit and sales increases in four out of five segments.

For the full year, the Company earned $1.86 per share representing a 7% increase. We provided earnings guidance a year ago on this call, wherein we said we would earn between $1.79 and $1.89 per share for the year and I am pleased to report we finish in the upper half of that range. We also exceeded $8 billion in sales for the first time in Company history, ultimately reaching $8.2 billion for the full year, up 4%.

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