The $6.9 million generated diluted net earnings per common share of $0.36 versus $0.25 for the prior year comparable period, an increase of 44.0%. Net sales of $53.0 million were approximately 15.8% below the $62.9 million result of the prior year comparable quarter; however, equal to the first quarter 2009 sales results.
Detailing this second quarter of 2009, Animal Nutrition and Health, including industrial choline and derivative product sales, totaled $34.8 million, a decrease of 22.0%, or $9.8 million from the prior year quarter, principally from a decline in volume sold into the well-publicized soft U.S. poultry and dairy industry.
It realised lower export sales from its North American choline plants, largely due to the stronger U.S. dollar in 2009 versus 2008 and international political factors affecting poultry exports. This U.S. volume decline was partially offset by increased volumes of choline products sourced from their Italian operation into the European and international poultry markets. This geographic mix lowered consolidated feed grade prices in the quarter, as did lower pricing linked to the decline in raw materials.
Sales of industrial derivatives (both choline and methylamines) were negatively impacted by softness, principally caused by the general economic downturn. Sales of specialty animal nutrition and health products, targeted for ruminant production animals and companion animals, decreased 14.5% from the prior year comparable quarter primarily due to the poor dairy market conditions in the U.S.
It realized improved sales of chelated mineral products and new sales generated from AminoShure™-L., our rumen protected lysine. Through all of these market activities, earnings from operations for the entire Animal Nutrition and Health segment increased to $5.3 million as compared to $2.9 million in the prior year comparable quarter, largely due to the noted strong sales from its Italian operation, and reductions in the cost of raw materials used to manufacture choline and derivatives, in the U.S. and Europe.