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Tyson Foods COO Expects Continued Strong Earnings Performance


BOSTON,– Jim Lochner, chief operating officer of Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), told the Barclays Capital 2010 Back to School Consumer Conference that Tyson’s record earnings this year should not be considered a peak, but rather what investors may expect from the company in the foreseeable future, barring any catastrophic market conditions.

“In the first nine months of fiscal 2010, we’ve had the best performance in Tyson history and expect it to remain strong,” Lochner said. “However, we don’t view this as a peak year. The fine tuning we’ve done and will continue to do on our businesses better positions us to withstand difficult market conditions and capitalize on favorable ones to achieve steadier, more sustainable earnings.”

While some have expressed concerns that increased chicken production could create an over-supply, Lochner told the conference that domestic availability of total protein should not change materially in 2011. Citing industry data, he said more chicken should be offset by less beef, while pork production is projected to be flat or down slightly. Overall protein supply appears to track below the peak of 2007-2008 and should be roughly flat compared to 2010, he said.

Donnie King, Tyson’s senior group vice president for poultry and prepared foods, reported the company has five poultry plants eligible to export to Russia and is working to have additional facilities approved. Tyson’s first load of poultry to Russia was shipped last week.

In addition to improved operational performance, Tyson has reduced its debt load significantly. The company has generated cash flows sufficient to pay down its debt by more than $900 million through the fiscal third quarter of 2010 to its lowest level since 2001. Debt-to-capital was 34% at the end of the third quarter, while net debt-to-capital (i.e., debt less cash) stood at 26%.

Reduced debt should mean reduced interest expense from about $335 million in 2010 to around $245 million in 2011 following recent upgrades in ratings from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, which further reduced interest expense.

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN), founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world’s largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork, the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products and is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves. Tyson provides products and services to customers throughout the United States and more than 90 countries. The company has approximately 117,000 Team Members employed at more than 400 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.

Forward Looking Statements

This release includes forward-looking statements as well as historical information. These forward-looking statements may include statements relating to future earnings results, market conditions, the operating environment, and industry performance. Historical performance is not an indication of, nor does it guarantee, future results. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: consumer demand and perceptions; availability and cost of, and demand for, raw materials; industry production levels; protein supplies; and the company’s ability to compete in products and prices in a competitive industry.


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