Tyson's Poultry Segment 'Making Progress'

US - Even though poultry market conditions are showing signs of improvement, the leadership of Tyson Foods, Inc. vows to maintain a 'sense of urgency' in returning the company’s chicken business to profitability.
calendar icon 9 February 2009
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Interim President and CEO Leland Tollett on Friday (6 February 2009) addressed shareholders at the company’s 46th annual meeting. He told them market fundamentals in the chicken business have been improving, with product values going up and input costs down. However, he also emphasized the company must not solely rely on better market conditions.

“To be successful, we need to have efficient, high-performing operations, and we are making progress,” Mr Tollett said. He indicated Tyson’s poultry yields, labor management and plant efficiencies are currently competitive and noted the company continues efforts to enhance product mix, as well as customer service and satisfaction.

“Although we’ve improved our execution, we must maintain our sense of urgency to return our chicken business to acceptable levels of profitability and regain our position as best in class,” he said.

While acknowledging the challenges the company has been facing, he told shareholders, “We’re doing a lot of things right. We’ve got the right core strategies for the company. We’re getting the chicken business turned around. Beef, pork and prepared foods are solid, well run businesses.”

Mr Tollett also said, “We’ve made significant progress” growing the company’s international business and proceeding with the company’s renewable products initiatives.

“And, most importantly, we’ve got the right people leading the business. They are energized and have my full confidence,” he said.

Tyson’s current key strategies include developing new products customers need, improving operational efficiencies, continuing international expansion and remaining focused on ways to add value to by-products.

Tyson Chief Financial Officer Dennis Leatherby also spoke to shareholders and expressed confidence in the direction of the company. He noted Tyson’s liquidity, which was $1.1 billion at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2009, enabled the company to make international acquisitions and fund its renewable products efforts.

During the business portion of the annual meeting, shareholders elected nine members to the Tyson Board of Directors, including six independent directors. Those elected were Lloyd Hackley, Jim Kever, Kevin McNamara, Brad Sauer, Jo Ann Smith, Barbara Tyson, Don Tyson, John Tyson and Albert Zapanta.

In other business, Ernst & Young LLP was ratified as independent registered public accountant for 2009 and shareholder proposals by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) were defeated.

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