Tyson Foods 4Q Net Income Up 91 Percent, Annual Sales A Record

Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale on Monday reported a 91 percent increase in fourth-quarter net income, which reached $185 million, or 51 cents per share, topping Wall Street expectations.

The publicly traded meat processor said net income was $97 million, or 26 cents per share, during the same quarter last year. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share reached 55 cents.

The company also reported quarterly sales of $8.37 million, down from $8.4 million during the same quarter last year.

For the fiscal year, the company reported net income of $576 million, down 21 percent from $733 million in the previous year. But the company logged record annual sales of $33 billion.

"Our earnings for the fourth quarter and fiscal year indicate that Tyson Foods is rising above the noise of commodity markets to produce solid, more consistent results," Donnie Smith, Tyson's president and CEO, said in a news release. "It has taken us several years and a lot of work to get to this point, and although there is much more to be done, I believe we have reached a new level of sustainable performance.

"While fiscal 2012 wasn't a record EPS year, I think it was our best year -- certainly our best effort to date," he said. "Our team members didn't make excuses; they made a difference, and they made money."

Tyson Foods' quarter net income boost came as the company's chicken segment returned to profitability. The segment reported income of $116 million, up from a loss of $82 million during the same quarter last year. The profit came as as sales rose 5.5 percent.

Tyson Foods' beef segment saw its sales decline 2.4 percent. Income was $117 million, down from $118 million.

Pork segment sales were down 7.8 percent. Income was $68 million, down from $118 million.

Cautious Outlook

Looking ahead, the company it is in "a strong position" heading into a "challenging fiscal 2013."

"The drought conditions in the summer of 2012 reduced grain supplies, which will result in higher input costs as well as increased costs for cattle and hog producers," the company said. Tyson Foods also cited USDA data showing fiscal 2013 protein production expected to decrease 2 percent, which the company said should support improved pricing.

"Our accomplishments, reinvestment in our business and record sales in fiscal 2012 were achieved in difficult market conditions," Smith said. "Fiscal 2013 is likely to be equally if not more difficult, but there will always be challenging circumstances in this business. It's our job to accelerate growth by focusing on innovation, serving our customers and developing our team members, whatever the market conditions may be."

In all, Tyson Foods said it expects fiscal 2013 sales to increase to about $35 billion, mostly due to price increases related to decreases in domestic protein availablilty and rising raw material costs, including feed grain costs.

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Click here to read the conference call transcript from Tyson executives' meeting with analysts.