LAUREL, Miss. -- Sanderson Farms Inc. today reported results for the first fiscal quarter ended Jan. 31, 2006.

Net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2006 were $222.1 million compared with $233.3 million for the same period a year ago. For the quarter, the net loss was $8.6 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, compared with net income of $10.0 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2005.

The company said one factor in the downturn was "significantly lower market prices ... primarily related to a "precipitous drop in export demand and more sluggish domestic demand compared with a year ago."

The other key factor in the first quarter was lost profits and expenses of approximately $3 million as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina.

The company's total insurance claim through Jan. 31, 2006, for property damage, expenses incurred and lost profits is $26.3 million, net of the applicable deductible of $2,750,000. Sanderson Farms intends to seek reimbursement for all of its insured losses, including the unrecognized lost profits and expenses. Negotiations with the company's insurance carriers are expected to be completed during 2006.

Sanderson Farms Inc. is engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen chicken and other prepared food items.

SOURCE: Sanderson Farms Inc. via Business Wire.