Egg Supplier Cal-Maine Scraps Dividend After Prices Drop

September 26, 2016 09:28 AM

Cal-Maine Foods Inc., the largest U.S. egg supplier, scrapped its quarterly dividend payment after a drop in prices helped push the company to a larger-than-expected fiscal first-quarter loss.

The Jackson, Mississippi-based company had a net loss of 64 cents in the three months ended Aug. 27, compared with a net income of $2.95 a year earlier, it said Monday in a statement. The average of four analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for a 33-cent loss. As Cal-Maine has a policy of paying out one-third of net income to investors, it won’t make a payment for the period.

Egg prices have tumbled in the past year as supplies increased, partly in reaction to the impact of the 2015 avian influenza that hurt U.S. production.

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The first-quarter loss reflects "a disappointing shell egg market with more challenging market conditions and significantly lower market prices," Chief Executive Officer Dolph Baker said in the statement. "Average customer selling prices dropped 58 percent from the record high levels we experienced a year ago."

The shares dropped 2.3 percent to $41.19 at 9:35 a.m. in New York.

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