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Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (CALM) Reports Fourth Quarter Earnings Double

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. (CALM), the largest shell-egg producer and distributor in the U.S., released financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2008 this morning. Net income for the fourth quarter rose 104% year-over-year to $36.6 million, or $1.54 per share, on revenues of $235.6 million, a 39% increase over the same period. For the full year the company earned $6.41 per share on revenues of $915.9 million.

The company continues to benefit from the ability to command high prices for its eggs, although the fourth quarter’s results represent a sequential decline of 36% in net income and 15% in revenues from Cal-Maine’s record-setting third quarter. Fred Adams, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., stated, “The results for the fourth quarter reflect good demand for eggs and strong egg prices. The overall supply of eggs was slightly lower than the same period last year, which contributed to a more favorable market balance. Feed costs continued to be very high, reflecting the rising costs of corn and soybean meal.

“For fiscal 2008, our results reflect very good egg prices, record high feed costs, and a solid performance by the Cal-Maine management team. As we look ahead, we see continued strong demand for eggs, a slightly higher, but manageable, egg supply, and further volatility with respect to corn and soybean meal prices. All of our operations are running smoothly, and we are optimistic about Cal-Maine’s business for the year ahead.”

The company strongly believes in sharing its success with its shareholders. Cal-Maine established a policy last quarter of paying out one-third of its net income each quarter in cash dividends, which for the fourth quarter amounts to approximately $0.516 per share. Shares of CALM closed at $37.39 on Friday and have traded in a range of $13.88 to $40.75 during the past year.

This morning’s results give CALM a trailing twelve-month P/E of 5.83. With 23.7 million shares outstanding, there are a staggering 15.2 million shares short as of July 15. Short sellers of the stock are liable for the dividend, which is payable on August 14 to shareholders of record on July 30. Shorts are likely to point to CALM’s sequential decline in revenues and earnings to support their bearish case.

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