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UPDATE 1-Tyson results beat estimates on higher chicken, beef sales

Friday, 31 Jan 2014 | 8:45 AM ET

* First-quarter earnings/shr $0.72 vs est $0.63

* Revenue rises 5 pct to $8.76 bln vs est $8.75 bln

* Reaffirms 2014 revenue, meat production forecast

* Shares rise 5 pct premarket

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc, the largest U.S. meat processor, reported first-quarter results that beat analysts' expectations, helped by higher chicken and beef sales.

The company's shares rose 5 percent to $36.10 in premarket trading after Tyson also reaffirmed its sales and meat production forecast for fiscal 2014.

Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson said it sold more beef at higher prices in the quarter, driven by better demand.

Chicken sales rose 2 percent to $2.98 billion, while beef sales increased 7 percent to $3.73 billion, in the quarter ended Dec. 28.

Total revenue rose 5 percent to $8.76 billion.

Net income attributable to Tyson rose to $254 million, or 72 cents per share, from $173 million, or 49 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 63 cents per share, on revenue of $8.75 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

U.S. meat producers struggled last year as feed costs rose, crimping margins and forcing them to hike meat prices. This prompted grocery shoppers and restaurant operators to buy lower-priced chicken instead of other meats, including beef.

Tyson said on Friday that it expects grain supplies to rise this year which would pull down its input costs. The company reaffirmed its sales forecast of about $36 billion for fiscal 2014.

The company said it still expects a 1 percent rise in overall domestic production of chicken, beef, pork and turkey in fiscal 2014, which ends in September.

Tyson shares closed at $34.49 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. They have risen about 53 percent in the past year to Thursday's close.

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