The Whispers Blog
Arkansas' breaking business news blog, with news and commentary from the Arkansas Business staff.
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The Walton family has fallen out of the top 10 of Forbes magazine's list of the country's 400 richest people.
Last year, Jim Walton ranked No. 9 on the list. Alice and Rob ranked Nos. 12 and 13.
No. 1 on the list is Microsoft founder Bill Gates, worth an estimated $82 billion.
Tyson Foods Inc. executives told investors at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference last week that the company is aiming for single-digit growth in fiscal 2017.
The publicly traded meat processor (NYSE: TSN) said it plans to use the proceeds to invest in its beef, chicken and pork businesses through organic growth or acquisitions.
"As stated on our last earnings call, our adjusted earnings guidance for fiscal 2016 of $4.40-4.50 per share is 40 percent more than last year and represents a four-year compound annual growth rate of approximately 22 percent, and we're confident we can achieve high single-digit growth in fiscal 2017," Tyson CEO Donnie Smith said in a news release.
The company also said its "Core 9" product lines — which include brands called Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells and State Fair — are "growing and gaining momentum."
"We continue to outpace retail food and beverage," Tyson Foods President Tom Hayes said. "Tyson Core 9 is leading in volume performance among the top 10 consumer packaged goods retail food manufacturers, and Tyson Foods is one of only three companies to show growth in the latest quarter. We're growing sales volume, sales dollar sales and market share."
Tyson acquired many of the brands through the $8.5 billion acquisition of Hillshire Brands of Chicago in 2014.
Smith touted Tyson Foods' return to shareholders, saying the company increased dividends and share repurchases totaling 31 million shares in the previous 12 months through Aug. 8. But he also said the firm would reinvest in the company, including through acquisitions.
"Beyond dividends and share buybacks, we'll use our substantial cash flows to invest in our business or make strategic acquisitions," Smith said.
Hayes also told investors that the company's financials have also been bolstered by an effort to trim $1 billion in inefficiencies, according to Global Meat News.
In August, Tyson Foods reported third-quarter net income of $484 million, up 41 percent from the same quarter last year, and raised estimates for the fiscal year amid strong performance across its divisions:
The company raised its full-year earnings per share guidance to $4.47 to $4.57, with sales of about $37 billion. For fiscal 2017, the company expects sales to rise 1 percent as volume increases.
"We expect our high-level performance to continue and are raising full year fiscal 2016 earnings guidance," Smith said. "Following record earnings this year, we intend to build on our momentum to generate more growth in fiscal 2017."
The company also said then that it would launch Tyson Naturals, a new value-added chicken line, later that month, and that it planned to open an e-commerce division in the fall.
Caterpillar Inc. confirmed Thursday that it laying off 60 people at its motor grader manufacting plant in North Little Rock.
Arkansas Business news partner THV 11 News reported Thursday that the company it notified 50 full-time Caterpillar employees and 10 agency workers of their terminations.
Penny Wu, a company spokesman, said the move comes as the motor grader manufacturer aims to "align production with demand." The layoffs will take place by Monday.
"Caterpillar understands this decision is difficult for the impacted workers and their families, but these actions are necessary to position the company for long-term success," the company said in a statement.
In April, the company lowered its 2016 sales and earnings outlook amid revenue declines that hurt quarterly profit.
The facility produces eight motor grader models. Production began at the plant in October 2010.
Wal-Mart announced Monday that it would acquire retailer Jet.com for $3 billion. According to Wal-Mart, acquiring Jet will help the company connect with urban and millennial shoppers and compete more effectively with online retail giant Amazon.com.
Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon talked to CNBC's "Squawk Box" about the pending acquisition and what he saw in Jet.com
"We're serious about e-commerce and want to serve customers in the way that they want to shop," McMillon said in the interview. "The Jet brand adds to the Wal-Mart porfolio. Around the world we operate 74 different brand names."
Watch the inteview below:
The Wall Street Journal today takes a look at Bank of the Ozarks Inc. of Little Rock, which it says is filling a loan void in big markets like New York and Houston.
The publicly traded bank, led by George Gleason, opened a loan production office in Manhattan in 2013. It established another office in Houston in 2014 after purchasing Bancshares Inc. for $23 million. It has other loan production sites in Austin, Texas, and Atlanta.
The Journal finds the company providing commercial loans in places where bigger banks have pulled back. It says the company now has $1.9 billion in loans outstanding in New York as of the first quarter, and its portfolio of loans and leases now stands at $9.7 billion.
"A lot of our competitors tend to move as a pack and are heavily driven by headline risk," said George Gleason, the bank’s chairman and chief executive, on a recent call with investors. "So what we have tried to do is ignore the headlines, to a great extent…we are finding tremendous opportunities in Manhattan, Miami, Houston [and] Dallas."
The Journal has more on what could be choppy waters ahead, as analysts weigh warning signs that the rally seen in some of those markets could be coming to end.
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