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 ATLANTA, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Gold Kist Inc. has reported pretax earnings of $43.5 million and net earnings of $27.2 million on net sales of $1.4 billion for the fiscal year ended June 26.
 Speaking yesterday to about 500 members who attended the cooperative's annual membership meeting in Atlanta, Chief Executive Officer Harold O. Chitwood said the fiscal 1993 results were 10th best in the diversified farm cooperative's 60-year history. A 6 percent increase in pounds of poultry products sold and 5 percent higher wholesale poultry prices contributed to the 7.7 percent in net sales in 1993, Chitwood said. Wet weather from last fall through this spring, followed by the summer drought, reduced the AgriServices segment's fertilizer, seed and farm chemicals by 4.5 percent, however that segment of the cooperative had its best earnings in more than 15 years.
 Those results compare with a net loss of $20.6 million, due primarily to an accounting change for employee health benefit costs. Fiscal 1992 net sales were $1.3 billion.
 Gold Kist makes patronage refunds based on its pretax earnings. Members who patronized profitable operations of the cooperative in fiscal 1993 will receive patronage refunds of nearly $35 million, including $3.5 million in cash, Chitwood said. In addition to the refunds, earnings retained from operations in 1973 will be returned to eligible members in December, involving cash payments of $5.1 million. These and other equity payments made to members during the year will total about $13.5 million.
 Members in northeast Georgia elected W. Ken Whitehead, 49, of Comer, Ga., to the nine-member Gold Kist board of directors for a three-year term. He succeeds Emmet O. Cabaniss Jr., of Stephens, Ga., who had been a director for 34 years. The cooperative's two directors in Alabama were re-elected to three-year terms. They are Dan Smalley of Arab and James E. Brady Jr. of Marion. Board Chairman W.P. Smith Jr., of Arlington, Ga., was re-elected by the board as chairman. Fred K. Norris Jr., of Eutawville, S.C., was elected vice chairman and Smalley was elected to the board's executive committee.
 The diversified farm cooperative, headquartered in Atlanta, has 24,000 active members in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina. It is the second-largest poultry processor in the U.S., operates 90 farm supply stores in the four-state area and is engaged in pork production, plant breeding and seed sales, grain buying complexes, peanut and pecan purchasing and marketing and other activities related to agriculture.
 -0- 10/29/93
 /CONTACT: Paul G. Brower of Gold Kist Inc., 404-393-5317/

CO: Gold Kist Inc. ST: Georgia IN: AGR SU: ERN

BR-BN -- AT005 -- 8454 10/29/93 11:23 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 29, 1993

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