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Pricier protein, increased volume a tasty combination for Tyson

Strong sales of chicken and beef pushed Tyson Food’s sales to record levels during the third quarter ended June 29.

The world’s largest protein producer attributed the growth to a combination of volume and price increases. Total sales increased 5.7% to $8.7 billion while profits from continuing operations grew to $249 million, or 69 cents a share, from $76 million, or 22 cents a share.

"As expected, we are delivering robust results in the second half of our fiscal year." said Donnie Smith, Tyson's president and CEO. "We produced strong earnings of 69 cents per share while investing in our people, processes and new businesses and continuing to buy back stock. Our chicken segment achieved record operating income, and our beef segment rebounded to generate solid returns. We see a tremendous amount of opportunity in our business. I am very proud of the team because I'm seeing good long-term decision making to sustain us in the future, and that gives me confidence."

Fueling the growth was strength in the chicken business where sales increased 10.6% to nearly $3.2 billion, driven by a combination of 4.4% volume growth and a 6% increase in prices.

It was a similar story for the beef business where a 3.8% increase in volume and a 2.9% increase in prices caused beef sales to increase 6.8%.
Pork sales were essentially flat at $1.3 billion as lower volumes were offset by higher prices.

Going forward, Tyson is optimistic about recent favorable weather conditions and the impact on planting and growing conditions for grains which comprise a major input cost for protein production. Full year sales are expected to total $34.5 billion with 2014 sales forecast to reach $36 billion.