Tyson Foods Inc. 's ( TSN ) first-quarter fiscal 2014 adjusted earnings of 72 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 66 cents by 9.1%. Quarterly earnings also increased 50% from the prior-year earnings of 48 cents. Earnings were on the upswing due to strong sales in most of the business segments.
Revenues and Margins
Net sales increased 4.7% to $8.8 billion in the quarter, due to sales growth in most of the business segments. Sales were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Tyson's operating income climbed 36.0% to $412 million in the quarter. Adjusted operating margin inflated 110 basis points (bps) to 4.7% backed by higher revenues although cost of sales and selling, general and administrative expenses were higher during the quarter.
Chicken: Sales in this segment increased 2.1% year over year to $2.98 billion backed by higher demand in international markets. Average sales price declined 1.4% due to lower feed ingredient costs and volatile markets in international markets. Operating margin inflated 370 bps to 7.5% from the year-ago quarter, backed by increased sales volume, operational improvements and lower feed ingredient costs.
Beef : Sales in the Beef segment climbed 7.1% year over year to $3.7 billion backed by higher demand for beef products. Average sales price went up by 2.9% due to lower domestic availability of fed cattle supplies. Operating margin inflated 30 bps to 1.6% following increased operational efficiencies and a relatively stable live cattle market.
Pork : The Pork segment sales climbed 4.5% year over year to $1.4 billion driven by higher selling price. Average sales price increased 6.7% due to lower hog supplies thus raising input costs. Operating margin contracted 70 bps to 8.5% from the year-ago quarter due to higher livestock cost.
Prepared Foods : Prepared Foods' sales went up 7.8% to $907 million compared with the year-ago quarter backed by improved demand. Operating margin shrank 210 bps to 1.8%, due to higher raw material cost and additional investments in lunchmeat business.
Other Financial Details
Tyson Foods had $825 million of cash and cash equivalents as of Dec 28, 2013, compared to $1.14 billion as of Sep 28, 2013. Long-term debt stood at $2.1 billion as of Dec 28, 2013 compared to $1.89 billion as of Sep 28, 2013. The company repurchased 4.6 million shares for $150 million in first-quarter fiscal 2014.
Guidance for Fiscal 2014
Tyson expects domestic chicken production to go up for fiscal 2014. However, it expects fed cattle and hog supplies to remain short even in the upcoming year. However, the company expects the prepared foods segment to benefit from operational improvements and positive pricing. For fiscal 2014, Tyson expects sales to be around $36 billion backed by strong demand of company's products. The company expects capital expenditure around $700 million.
Tyson has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other stocks worth considering in the consumer staples sector include Hormel Foods Corp. ( HRL ), ConAgra Foods Inc. ( CAG ) and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. ( GMCR ). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2.