Tyson Foods nearly doubles investor money in three years: CEO

  • The Arkansas-based company produces pork, chicken, beef and prepared foods.
  • "Everybody wants more protein," CEO and President Tom Hayes says.
  • Hayes says the company plans to continue investing by adding new jobs and automation.

Tyson Foods, known for its Ball Park hot dogs and Jimmy Dean sausages, has nearly doubled investors' money in the last three years.

"Everybody wants more protein," Tom Hayes, president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods, told Brian Sullivan on "Closing Bell" Tuesday, live from Los Angeles at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

"All the way back to 1960, protein has grown worldwide 3 percent a year," he said. "And we're a fantastic protein company."

The Springdale, Arkansas-based company produces pork, chicken, beef and prepared foods. Despite a recent setback — shares fell 6.2 percent last month in response to China's retaliatory tariffs on American goods — Tyson has grown substantially in the last three years.

Shares were trading around $70 Tuesday, compared with $40 in May 2015. With a revenue of nearly $40 billion and a market cap of more than $25 billion, the company is one of the largest food and beverage companies in North America, according to Statista.

"We just want to make cash-on-cash return for our investors and keep that train running," Hayes said.

With share prices up and extra funds from President Donald Trump's new tax policy — about $300 million — Hayes said the company will invest in capital spending, worker pay and facilities. Both full-time and part-time employees received a bonus earlier this year, and the company will continue to add jobs and invest in automation, he said.

"We're taking some of those jobs that team members don't want necessarily and moving them up the curve," Hayes said.

The company continues to do business internationally as well. Hayes said about 10 percent of sales are exports.

"We want trade to continue to flow," the CEO said.