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Tyson Foods company update

Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods said that its chicken unit continued to turn around as volume and average selling prices for poultry improved from year-ago levels.

In its first fiscal quarter of 2010, Tyson Foods earned $159 mln, well ahead of analysts’ consensus call for a profit of $72 mln, according to Thomson Reuters.

The figures represent a significant improvement over year-earlier losses of $104 mln, when feed and fuel costs pressured the meat producer’s bottom line.

Tyson said chicken pricing was up 2.8% in the quarter, while volume rose 5.6%, attributed to acquisitions.

Others meat producers, including Pilgrim's Pride, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008 because of high grain prices and a heavy debt load, have been trimming production to weather the economic downturn.

Tyson forecast improved seasonal demand and pricing for its chicken further into fiscal 2010. The company expects little change in its beef business.

It also warned of a negative impact from higher raw material costs in the current quarter.

Natalie Berkhout

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