UPDATE 1-Higher chicken, beef sales boost Tyson Foods profit

Monday, 18 Nov 2013 | 8:30 AM ET

Nov 18 (Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profit, helped by higher chicken sales and a rebound in its beef business.

Shares of the largest U.S. meat processor rose 4 percent to $30.00 in premarket trade on Monday. They have risen 72 percent in the past 12 months.

Tyson said it expects total meat production, including turkey, to rise about 1 percent in the fiscal year ending September 2014, adding that higher grain supplies should result in lower costs.

The company's total meat production fell 0.2 percent in fiscal 2013.

U.S. meat producers are coming off a tough year when higher feed costs crimped margins. This in turn pushed up meat prices, prompting many shoppers and restaurants to choose lower-priced chicken products instead of other meats.

Analysts said higher beef and pork prices should keep boosting demand for chicken. Tyson's chicken sales rose 2.4 percent to $3.16 billion in the fourth quarter ended Sept. 28.

The company should also benefit as prices for corn and other feeds ease. Beef sales rose about 4 percent to $3.75 billion, contributing about 42 percent of total sales.

Pork sales fell 5.6 percent to $1.40 billion.

The Springdale, Arkansas-based company's total sales rose 7 percent to $8.89 billion, in line with analysts' estimates.

Net income from continuing operations rose to $259 million, or 70 cents per share, from $203 million, or 57 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 69 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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