UPDATE 3-Tyson results beat estimates on higher chicken, beef sales

Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:48pm EST
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Jan 31 (Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc, the largest U.S. meat processor, on Friday said higher beef prices and robust chicken sales helped quarterly profits grow more than Wall Street expected, sending shares up nearly 10 percent.

The company's shares rose 9.6 percent to $37.81 in midday trading after Tyson also reaffirmed its sales and meat production forecast for fiscal 2014.

Chicken sales rose $61 million, or 2 percent, to $2.98 billion, while beef sales increased $249 million, or 7 percent to $3.73 billion in the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 28.

Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson said stronger demand resulted in higher prices on its beef sales.

"Record high beef prices should continue to 2014, meaning fewer beef promotions and retail and food service," Tyson's President and Chief Executive Donnie Smith said on a conference call with analysts.

"Chicken should continue to be the winner," Smith said, referring to buyers' tendency to switch to lower-cost poultry when beef prices rise.

Total revenue increased nearly 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.   Continued...