The decrease is in part due to net $17 million loss in the company's pork segment.
Seaboard reported net earnings in its first quarter ended April 4 of $16 million, or $12.89 per share on sales of $917 billion compared with net earnings of $70 million or $56.28 per share on sales of $994 billion the year ago quarter.
In its pork segment, Seaboard reported a net loss of $17 million on sales of $262 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $4.8 million on sales of $239 million.
During the quarter Seaboard spent $6.9 million on capital expenditures, primarily to upgrade the Guymon, Okla., pork processing plant and on its new ham-boning and processing plant in Reynosa, Mexico.
Seaboard said it expects to complete the Reynosa plant in the second quarter of 2009.
The company also warned that goodwill or intangible assets in its pork segment could be deemed impaired during fiscal 2009, "if future market conditions do not produce projected sales price increases or additional processed meats sales volumes, and related levels of estimated operating margins."
Seaboard said those impairments, should they occur, "may result in a material charge to earnings."