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Tyson Earnings Hit by Higher Costs, Lower Prices

Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) reported third-quarter fiscal 2015 results before markets opened Monday. The food processing company posted adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.80 on revenues of $10.07 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.75 on revenues of $9.68 billion. Third-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.92 and $10.3 billion in revenues.

The company’s prepared foods division sales rose 77.4% year over year, primarily due to the completed acquisition of Hillshire. Chicken sales rose 2.9%, but beef and pork sales were off 3.9% and 4.8%, respectively, and international sales were down more than 25%. The beef division posted an operating loss of 0.2% in the quarter, while operating income in chicken and prepared foods rose 11.4% for both groups.

The average beef price change year over year for the third quarter was 6.9%, but pork prices fell 28% and chicken prices fell 5.2%. Prepared food prices rose 13.2%.

For fiscal year 2016, the company expects domestic protein production (chicken, beef, pork and turkey) to rise by about 3% year-over-year. Tyson also expects higher feed costs in the next fiscal year. The company estimates sales of about $41 billion for fiscal 2015 and 2016. Capital spending is forecast at around $900 million in fiscal 2015 and $900 million to $950 million in fiscal 2016. Tyson also said it expects to increase share buybacks in 2016 and the company’s current buyback program has about 27.9 million shares remaining. The company spent $197 million in the third quarter on share buybacks.

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CEO Donnie Smith said, “We’ve positioned ourselves well for fiscal 2016 and we’re confident in our ability to achieve at least 10% annual EPS growth over time.”

Shares traded down about 7.5% in Monday’s premarket session, at $41.01, in a 52-week range of $36.12 to $45.10. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of $50.73 before the report.

By Paul Ausick