What Investors Didn’t Like About Tyson Foods Earnings

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Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) reported first fiscal quarter 2017 results before markets opened Monday. The food processing company posted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.59 on revenues of $9.18 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.15 on revenues of $9.15 billion. First-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $1.26 and $9.05 billion in revenues.

Year over year, quarterly operating income improved from $776 million to $982 million and net income attributable to Tyson rose from $461 million to $594 million.

In its guidance for fiscal 2017, the company raised its adjusted EPS estimate from a prior range of $4.70 to $4.85 (up 7% to 10% compared with 2016 results) to a new range of $4.90 to $5.05.

For the quarter, Tyson repurchased 8.1 million shares of stock valued at $520 million.

New CEO Tom Hayes said:

The year is off to the best start in company history with record earnings, record operating income and record cash flows. Return on sales for each operating segment was in or above the normalized range. The tremendous returns generated in the Beef and Pork segments are providing fuel for growth in our value-added Chicken and Prepared Foods segments. … We expect the earnings cadence for the remainder of the fiscal year to follow more normal patterns, including the seasonality typical of our second quarter.

Sales volumes were higher in all four of the company’s operating segments, and including a drop of 6.7% in other revenues, total sales volume rose 2.4%. Average prices, however, fell 2% with the biggest decline in the beef segment, where prices fell 6.6%.

Operating income rose from $71 million in the beef segment in the first quarter of last year to $299 million. The company’s total operating margin for the quarter rose from 8.5% a year ago to 10.7%.

So why did shares trade lower Monday morning? 2017 sales are expected to be approximately flat with 2016 as the company grows volume across each segment offset by the impact of lower beef prices.

Shares were down about 0.9% early in Monday’s regular session to $64.79, in a 52-week range of $55.72 to $77.05. The stock closed at $65.39 on Friday. The consensus 12-month price target was $70.50 before this morning’s report, down about 10% from the price target at the end of the prior quarter.