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Tyson beats profit estimates and sees lower COVID-19 costs for 2021

17 November 2020

Tyson Foods beat Wall Street’s estimates for its fourth-quarter profit on 16 November, but faces rising costs for animal feed and increasing uncertainty over labour as COVID-19 cases surge in the US.

Reuters reports that the pandemic has hurt the US’ highest-selling meat company as demand has declined from restaurants, hotels and cafeterias. Virus outbreaks among plant workers this spring forced slaughterhouses to close, limiting supplies in grocery stores as consumers scrambled to stock up.

A sample of Tyson employees are now being tested weekly for COVID-19 to avoid more shutdowns and make workers feel safe, Chief Executive Officer Dean Banks said.

Employee absences remain elevated due to the pandemic, though, and will be a headwind for Tyson through the first half of 2021, he said.

 

Tyson spent $540 million on COVID-19-related costs in fiscal year 2020, including about $300 million on "thank-you bonuses" and other benefits for nervous employees.

The expenses should drop 39 percent in 2021, the company said, as Tyson will not need to repeat purchases of items like infrared temperature scanners it installed at plants.

"We are seeing the need to make sure that we compensate our team members to come in through the crisis," Banks said.

Another challenge comes from surging prices for corn and soy, used for animal feed. Tyson said overall grain costs could be higher in 2021, after staying relatively flat in 2020.

"The feed cost tailwind will likely flip soon," JP Morgan analyst Ken Goldman said.

Tyson's shares, down about 32 percent this year, rose 3 percent in afternoon trading.

Sales volumes in its beef and pork businesses increased in the fourth quarter after declining for the first nine months of the year.

Total sales rose to $11.46 billion in the quarter from $10.88 billion a year earlier. Net income attributable to Tyson jumped about 88 percent to $692 million, or $1.90 per share.

Excluding items, Tyson earned $1.95 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Analysts on average expected a profit of $1.19.

Read more about this story here.

Source: Reuters



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