Tyson Swings To Profit, Helped By Higher Beef Prices

Tyson Foods, the world's largest meat company, reported a profit Monday of $68 million for its latest quarter, a number that indicates the company is pulling out of the doldrums.

Tyson had lost $127 million, 37 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Its profit of 19 cents a share beat expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, who projected a profit of 11 cents a share on revenue of $6.4 billion.

Tyson had sales of $6.5 billion for January-March fiscal second quarter, compared to $6.3 billion a year before.

The company also revised its earnings guidance for the fiscal year, saying that it expects a profit of between 65 cents and 90 cents a share. Tyson's previous profit estimate was for a profit between 50 cents and 80 cents a share.

For the past six months, Tyson earned $125 million, or 35 cents a share, compared to a loss of $88 million, or 26 cents a share, in the comparable period in its last fiscal year. Sales were $13.1 billion for the six months, compared to $12.7 billion a year ago.

Tyson Foods President and Chief Executive Officer Dick Bond said the company is improving on all fronts.

"Quarterly operating income improved $300 million over the same period last year," Bond said. "All segments were profitable, and it was our strongest performance since the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005. Our beef segment is back in the black, and our pork business is well within our target margin objectives.

Chicken showed improvement despite a substantial year-over-year increase in grain costs."