Originally created 04/27/04

Tyson reports increase in second-quarter earnings



SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat company, posted a 65 percent increase in second-quarter profit, despite trade restrictions that limited poultry and beef sales.

For the three months ending March 27, Tyson earned $119 million, or 33 cents per share, up from $72 million, or 20 cents per share in the same period a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected of 27 cents per share.

Sales were $6.2 billion compared to $5.8 billion in the same period last year.

The earnings results were affected by pretax charges of $14 million of costs, or $0.02 per share, related to poultry and prepared foods plant closings along with an approximate $50 million net benefit in the chicken segment, stemming from the Company's on-going commodity risk management hedging activities and increased grain costs.

Animal ailments played a role in the company's performance. No Tyson animals were sickened by either mad cow disease or avian influenza but the company's results reflected the impact of trade restrictions that followed cases in the United States.

"Chicken segment sales volumes decreased due to a reduction in international export activity resulting from import restrictions by various countries caused by the avian influenza outbreaks in the United States," the company said. The beef export market has also been affected by the report of a case of bovine spongiform encephalitis - commonly called mad cow disease - in a Washington State dairy cow, Tyson said.

Tyson said in late March that it was the subject of a formal investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into benefits received by some board members and company officers. Tyson did not release details of the probe but said its focus is "perquisites provided to certain directors and officers of the company." Tyson pledged its cooperation with investigators.

Tyson has 300 facilities and offices in 26 states and 22 nations. The company employs 120,000 people.