UPDATE 3-Tyson profit misses, shares fall 9 pct on growth jitters

Mon May 5, 2014 1:42pm EDT
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(Rewrites throughout, adds details from media call)

By Devika Krishna Kumar and Lisa Baertlein

May 5 (Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc on Monday reported weaker-than-expected quarterly profit on higher expenses and weak China results, sending shares down more than 9 percent.

The largest U.S. meat processor raised its full-year sales forecast by $1 billion to $37 billion. It also expects feed supplies to increase, which should lower its costs.

Still, many uncertainties remain and shares in Tyson, which had chalked up a year-over-year gain of 73 percent as of Friday, tumbled 9.2 percent to $38.75 in midday trading.

Tyson said unusually inexpensive domestic pork in China has been taking a bite out of chicken sales there. Separately, it expects this year's pork supplies to be down as much as 4 percent, slightly more than previously thought, due to a deadly piglet virus outbreak.

Continued weakness in China, where Tyson is making significant investments to build poultry operations, accounted for most of the $30 million loss in the company's international business during its second quarter that ended March 29.

"For the first time that I can remember, domestic pork prices (in China) are actually cheaper than imported pork prices would be," Tyson Chief Executive Donnie Smith said on a conference call with reporters.

Cheap pork, which is a preferred meat in China, is weighing on chicken sales there, said Smith, who added that he believes the worst is over in China.   Continued...