QUOTE AND NEWS
Agrimoney.com  Nov 22  Comment 
The company best known for spam is selling pork farms, and getting into the organic sector
newratings.com  Nov 22  Comment 
WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL) said that it expects fiscal 2017 earnings to be in the range of $1.71 to $1.77 per share, and annual earnings of $1.68 to $1.74 per share, after excluding earnings from the Farmer John divestiture of...
SeekingAlpha  Nov 22  Comment 
newratings.com  Nov 22  Comment 
WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Hormel Foods Corp (HRL) released a profit for its fourth quarter that gained ground from last year. The company said its bottom line came in at $243.94 million, or $0.45 per share. This was up from $199.90 million, or...
MarketWatch  Nov 22  Comment 
Hormel Foods Corp. reported Tuesday fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that rose to $243.9 million, or 45 cents a share, from $187.2 million, or 35 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. That matched the FactSet consensus for earnings per...
Reuters  Nov 21  Comment 
Smithfield Foods said it would buy parent of the Farmer John and Saag's Specialty Meats brands, and farm operations in three U.S. states from Hormel Foods Corp for $145 million in cash.
MarketWatch  Nov 21  Comment 
Hormel Foods Corp. said late Monday it will increase its annual dividend by 17% to 68 cents a share. Its board of directors authorized the first quarterly dividend of 17 cents a share to be paid on Feb. 15 to shareholders of record Jan. 17....




 

The company's financial results and margins are tied closely to the cost and supply of pork, poultry, and feedstuff commodities prices like grain, which are the principal costs in raising livestock; corn prices in particular have risen since 2007 as ethanol producers have increased demand for the grain. The company generally enters into long-term hedging arrangements with suppliers, but major fluctuations in price or supply disruptions can adversely impact results. In the longer term, consumption in increasingly wealthy countries such as China may be particularly attractive to Hormel given its strong portfolio of branded meat products.

Company Overview

Business Financials

In 2009, HRL earned a total of $6.53 billion in total revenues. This was a decline from its 2008 total revenues of $6.75 billion. Despite this decrease in total revenues, HRL's net income increased. Between 2008 and 2009, HRL's net income increased from $286 million in 2008 to $343 million in 2009.[1]

Key Trends, Risks and Forces

Supply and price of inputs (live pork and poultry)

Hormel is heavily dependent upon favorable pricing and availability of live hogs and poultry in making its foods, as well as the commodity inputs that are required to feed the animals (Grains Prices, corn, etc). Major increases in price or major shocks to or shifts in supply could increase costs and deteriorate margins. Hormel believes its long-term hedging contracts to “lock in” current prices, as well as its ability to partially pass on costs to consumers through price increases, are sufficient to mitigate risk. However, the “spot” hog market (i.e. buying hogs without a long-term contract) is steadily on the decline, and it is possible that underutilized slaughterhouses lead to increases in Hormel’s raw materials. Also, grain prices have been rising and can be volatile, further increasing the volatility and potential contraction of margins.

Ability to brand and market value-added meat products

About 80% of packaged meat products are branded, as the companies that sell them attempt to differentiate their product and leverage pricing power by staying "top of mind" in the grocery store (also see Private Label Trends). Hormel's brands are vitally important to the company's margins and ability to sell larger volumes than its undifferentiated competitors. The quality of the company's products and strength of the Hormel name vis-a-vis similarly successful meat brands (e.g., Tyson Foods (TSN)) is a key determinant of success going further. Furthermore, the ability of Hormel to develop the same brand strength in increasingly wealthy international markets like China, will be crucial in determining success going forward. As a result, HRL does not need to rely upon private labels to sell its volume of goods- it is able to sell its products as branded items, thereby ensuring relatively comfortable margins.

Growth abroad

While the company's domestic market (U.S.) are fairly mature, other markets, including China, represent attractive prospects for more organic growth. The company particularly notes that its Chinese operations have been reporting strong top and bottom line growth, and management recognizes China as a key area for Hormel's growth. As China becomes more economically mature and consumers begin to value Hormel’s brands, the company can benefit from strong growth in this rapidly expanding market and is pursuing initiatives to grow its business there. Whether HRL successfully competes against China's domestic brands as well as international competitors remains to be seen.

Disease outbreaks

The company is subject to the possibility of animal disease outbreaks that might threaten sales, hamper margins, or lead to reputational damage if humans were ever to become infected. Furthermore, government intervention or restrictions following an outbreak could lead to adverse results.

Competition

Hormel competes largely with similarly positioned large providers of packaged meat products that one might typically find on any grocery store shelf. These include Tyson Foods (TSN), Smithfield Foods (SFD), Pilgrim's Pride (PGPDQ), and Sanderson Farms (SAFM).

Footnotes

  1. HRL 10-K 2009 Item 6 Pg. 12
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