Tyson Foods 2Q Profit Tops Street, Upbeat on 2012

Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) reported stronger-than-expected second-quarter profit Monday on higher chicken prices and said it expects to gain momentum heading into the second half of fiscal 2012.

“We still think we have the potential for earnings per share of $2 for the year if we execute as planned,” Tyson CEO Donnie Smith said in a statement.

Analysts are looking for a fiscal 2012 profit of $1.98 a share.

Tyson expects to post $34 billion in sales, just short of the Street’s view of $34.43 billion.

The Springdale, Ark.-based company posted quarterly net income of $166 million, or 44 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier $159 million, or 42 cents. Analysts in a Thomson Reuters poll had forecast earnings of 39 cents.

Revenue for the three months ended March 31 was $8.27 billion, up from $8 billion a year ago, short of the Street’s view of $8.49 billion.

Rate increases in its beef, chicken and prepared foods segments offset softened volume and helped the latter two outperform their normalized operating margin ranges.

The beef business essentially broke even as a 13.2% price jump could not wholly offset a 10.7% decline in volumes. Pork slipped on lower volumes and rates.

Looking ahead, Tyson continues to anticipate a decline in production and domestic availability of protein that should help support improved pricing. It expects to use higher rates to offset growing feed expenses.