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Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale reported Thursday first-quarter net income of $561 million, up 1.6% from the same quarter last year.
The publicly traded meat processor (NYSE: TSN) reported earnings per share of $1.52, up from $1.50 in the same quarter last year and ahead of analysts’ expectations. Revenue was $10.82 billion, up 6% from the same time last year, but below analysts’ expectations of $11.1 billion.
CEO Noel White said first-quarter and fiscal 2020 results were in-line with company expectations.
“Our beef and pork segments performed well as the effects of African swine fever are beginning to materialize. Our chicken segment performed better operationally, although in a soft pricing environment,” he said. “Our prepared foods segment produced its sixth consecutive quarter of retail consumption growth, demonstrating the strength of our brands and innovation as we grew or held market share in all core categories.”
White spoke at the company’s 57th annual shareholders meeting Thursday morning at Tyson’s original headquarters on East Emma Avenue. A knot of about 20 protesters with the environmental group Mighty Earth stood across the street and called for Tyson to report progress on its promise to reduce and clean up water pollution caused by its supply chain.
Tyson recently announced the Coalition for Global Protein, which would be led by company Chief Sustainability Officer John R. Tyson. John R. Tyson is the son of former Tyson CEO and current Chairman John Tyson and is the great-grandson of the company founder.
“We are making strides in sustainability,” White said. “We are working with the Environmental Defense Fund to make progress to improve crop and farming practices.
Company spokesman Worth Sparkman handed media a statement related to the Mighty Earth protest. It read, in part, that Tyson “has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, and a track record of achievement.”
Sparkman said Tyson was on schedule to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 through the company’s supply chain, and it has reduced water usage by 1.3 billion gallons in the past five years.
White said recent trade developments that give the company improved access to global markets mean the company is optimistic about the new year. He said Tyson is “well-positioned” to capitalize on global opportunities.
“Although we anticipate the challenges and volatility typical in our second fiscal quarter, our long-term outlook remains positive,” he said.
The company said first-quarter beef sales volume declined 8% due to a fire that temporarily closed a Kansas production facility, affecting cattle harvest capacity. But average sales prices rose amid strong demand.
Pork sales volume rose by more than 7% due to increased domestic availability of live hogs and strong demand. Average sales price increased, associated with higher livestock costs and stronger export markets.
Chicken sales volume increased by more than 4% due to incremental volume from a business acquisition, partially offset by lower volume from Tyson’s rendering and blending business. Average sales price increased due to lower rendering and blending sales.
Prepared foods sales volume decreased 3% but average sales price increased “due to favorable product mix and the pass through of increased raw material costs,” the company said.
In other business at the shareholders meeting, the company’s 12-person board of directors was reelected, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP was confirmed as Tyson’s independent accounting firm. Four shareholders proposals were voted down, including three calling for more transparency in the company’s lobbying, human rights and deforestation efforts.