Tyson Foods Inc Class A TSN
Q2 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 05/10/2010

Operator: Welcome and thank you for standing by. We’d like to inform all participants your lines are in a listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions). Also, today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time.

And now, I’ll turn today’s conference over to Ruth Ann Wisener. Thank you. You may begin.

Ruth Ann Wisener - VP, IR and Assistant Secretary: Good morning and thank you for joining us for Tyson Foods conference call for the second quarter of our 2010 fiscal year.

I need to remind you that some of the things we talk about today will include forward-looking statements. Those statements are based on our view of the world as we know it now, which could change. I encourage you to look at our press release for a discussion of the risks that can affect our business.

On today’s call is Donnie Smith, President, and Chief Executive Officer; Jim Lochner, Chief Operating Officer and Dennis Leatherby, Chief Financial Officer. To ensure we get to as many of your questions as possible, please limit yourself to only one question and then get back in the queue for additional questions.

I’ll now turn the call over to Donnie Smith.

Donnie Smith - President and CEO: Thanks, Ruth Ann. Good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us. In our last call, I mentioned to you that Q2 is typically our weakest quarter and as it turned out it was on par with the first quarter and even better when you take into account the $0.04 for note repurchases. I don’t think this is just a matter of peaking early because we still expect Q3 and Q4 to be strong. We’re just getting started with the summer grilling season, so the expected seasonal bump-up in demand is coming.

The economy seems to be improving slightly. According to the NPD Group, consumers are beginning to loosen their purse strings when it comes to food purchases, which is a positive for protein demand in both food service and retail. But frankly, our outlook for the rest of the year doesn’t take into account any boost from the economy.

The only negative I can point to now is a little bit of disappointment in our international operations. Although there was improvement from Q1 to Q2, it’s still a little bit of a drain on the Chicken segment and some of it can be attributed to startup costs but there are also country fundamentals and execution issues that we’re focusing on. We have a lot of work to do in some locations. But there are improvements being made and we’re committed to our international growth strategy.

And with that, I’m just going to go ahead and turn it over to Jim for the segment reports.

James V. Lochner - COO: Thanks, Donnie. Good morning, everybody. On our first call, I talked about the declining domestic availability of protein and the effect it should have on our markets, but I’m happy to report it happened much faster and much stronger than I anticipated.

Now to the segments. Our Chicken segment posted an operating income of $114 million and 4.6% return on sales compared to a negative $46 million and a minus 1.9% in the second quarter of last year. It also compares favorably to Q1 2010 margin of 3.2%. Although return on sales fell just below our normalized range, we do expect to be in the range for the fiscal year in its entirety.

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