Speaking at the J.P.Morgan Global High Yield & Leveraged Finance Conference, Tyson Foods, Inc. Chief Financial Officer Dennis Leatherby said Tyson has made significant progress in its day-to-day operations and is committed to improving its competitive position.
Leatherby said in its first fiscal quarter Tyson Foods set a first-quarter record of $0.42 earnings per share and had posted return on sales above the normalised ranges for its Beef, Pork and Prepared Foods segments. Furthermore the company had continued the turnaround of its Chicken segment operations and generated cash from operations of nearly $550 million. Leatherby added, Tyson bought back $64 million of its bonds and had reduced net debt to under $1.9 billion, down $400 million since the end of the previous quarter.
While improving its operations, Tyson also expects to benefit from market fundamentals, Leatherby said. With lower overall industry production levels, decreased imports, increased exports and lower cold storage inventories, according to USDA data, the availability of chicken, beef, pork and turkey in the United States appears to be declining for the second year in a row.
Leatherby said in 2010 Tyson is focusing on integrating recent acquisitions in China and Brazil, further reducing debt, reinvesting in its business and exploring opportunities for its Renewable Products Group, which includes pet products, renewable fuels, biotech and nutraceuticals. The company recently re-opened an idle plant and reconfigured it to produce high-end pet treats. Dynamic Fuels, Tyson’s joint venture with Syntroleum Corp., is expected to bring its renewable diesel plant online this summer, the first of its kind in the United States.
Source: Tyson Foods, Inc.