Tyson Reports 19% Drop in Profit

From Associated Press

Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat processor, said Monday that its first-quarter profit fell 19% on weaker operating results in its pork and beef businesses, and projected fiscal 2006 earnings below Wall Street expectations.

The Springdale, Ark.-based company's shares fell $1.10, or 7.2%, to $13.85, after being down almost 11% earlier in the day.

Earnings declined to $39 million, or 11 cents a share, from $48 million, or 14 cents, a year earlier. The latest quarter included a $12-million gain from antitrust litigation, an $8-million gain from the sale of an interest in Specialty Brands Inc., and $3 million in costs related to the closure of a prepared-food plant.

Sales were flat at $6.45 billion, as a modest rise in sales of beef did little to offset declines in sales of chicken, pork and prepared food.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had forecast profit of 16 cents a share on $6.43 billion in sales.

"During the first quarter our chicken segment generated solid results and prepared foods improved, while pork struggled and beef further deteriorated," said Chief Executive John Tyson. He cautioned that falling demand for chicken in the international market "will dramatically impact the performance of our chicken segment."

Tyson forecast a second-quarter loss and projected fiscal 2006 income of 50 cents to 80 cents a share. Analysts have been forecasting 2006 earnings of $1.07 a share.

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