LAUREL, MISS. — Reduced expenses and lower grain prices helped Sanderson Farms, Inc. return to profitability in the fourth quarter and the full fiscal 2009 year.

For the year ended Oct. 31, the company had income of $82,319,000, equal to $4.05 per share on the common stock, which compared with a loss of $43,129,000 during the previous year. Sales for the year were $1,789,508,000, up 4% from $1,723,583,000 during fiscal 2008.

"Fiscal 2009 was a successful year for Sanderson Farms with a solid performance in our fourth quarter," said Joe F. Sanderson Jr. chairman and chief executive officer. "While the overall chicken market improved during our fourth fiscal quarter compared with the same period a year ago, market conditions were less favorable than the third quarter of this fiscal year. However, we continued to benefit from lower grain prices with improved profitability over the prior year."

Net income during the fourth quarter was $19,804,000, or 97c per share, which compared with a loss of $51,923,000 during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $469,019,000, up 2% from $460,226,000.

"We are pleased with our results for fiscal 2009 and are optimistic about the year ahead," Mr. Sanderson said. "As always, we will continue to manage our company for the long term and pursue our primary objective to deliver greater value to our shareholders. Regardless of market conditions, we will rely on our strengths — exceptional products, efficient operations, an expanding market base and a solid financial position — and move Sanderson Farms forward in fiscal 2010."