Tyson Foods Inc.’s first quarter profits were well above expectations as the Springdale-based food giant began the New Year with strong performances across the board, nearly doubling last year’s results.
“Tyson produced record sales and earnings for the fiscal first quarter of 2011," said Tyson Foods President and CEO Donnie Smith. “Our performance is due to on-going, sustainable operational improvements across all four segments.”
For the period ended Jan 1, 2011, Tyson reported first quarter earnings of $298 million, or 78 cents per share, compared to year ago results of $160 million and 42 cents per share. Revenues rose 15.2% to $7.6 billion, compared to $6.6 billion in the same period of 2009.
Wall Street expected the Arkansas meat, chicken and pork giant to report first quarter earnings of 62 cents per share on revenue of $7.2 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
The company also posted operating income gains in its chicken and pork segments.
Chicken segment — operating income
Q1 2011: $181 million
Q1 2010: $78 million
Beef segment — operating income
Q1 2011: $116 million
Q1 2010: $119 million
Pork segment — operating income
Q1 2011: $177 million
Q1 2010: $62 million
Prepared foods — operating income
Q1 2011: $28 million
Q1 2010: $55 million
Overall, Tyson said the company had strong operating cash flows and reduced net debt to a 10-year low of $1.4 billion, down $132 million from the fiscal fourth quarter of 2010. Return on invested capital was up 26%.
Going forward, Smith said that 2011 is basically the same as it was a few months ago.
“Because of the structural changes we’ve made throughout our businesses, we are competing effectively, even within the volatile markets we’re facing," Smith said. "While 2011 will have its challenges, it has the potential to be comparable to 2010."
UPDATE: At today’s Tyson Foods shareholders’ meeting, seven directors were elected to the board. Those elected included Chairman John Tyson, Jim Kever, Kevin M. McNamara, Robert Thurber, Brad T. Sauer, Barbara A. Tyson and Albert C. Zapanta.
The board position held by Don Tyson, who passed away January 6, has not been filled.