Even though poultry market conditions are showing signs of improvement, the leadership of Tyson Foods Inc. said they will maintain a "sense of urgency" in returning the company's chicken business to profitability.
Interim President and CEO Leland Tollett today addressed shareholders at the company's 46th annual meeting. He told them market fundamentals in the chicken business have been improving, with product values going up and input costs down. However, he also emphasized the company must not solely rely on better market conditions.
"To be successful, we need to have efficient, high-performing operations, and we are making progress," Tollett said. He indicated Tyson's poultry yields, labor management and plant efficiencies are currently competitive and noted the company continues efforts to enhance product mix, as well as customer service and satisfaction.
"Although we've improved our execution, we must maintain our sense of urgency to return our chicken business to acceptable levels of profitability and regain our position as best in class," he said.
While acknowledging the challenges the company has been facing, he told shareholders "we're doing a lot of things right. We've got the right core strategies for the company. We're getting the chicken business turned around. Beef, pork and prepared foods are solid, well-run businesses."
Tollett also said that the company had made significant progress growing the company's international business and proceeding with the company's renewable products initiatives.
"And, most importantly, we've got the right people leading the business. They are energized and have my full confidence," he said.
Tyson's current key strategies include developing new products customers need, improving operational efficiencies, continuing international expansion and remaining focused on ways to add value to by-products.Tyson Chief Financial Officer Dennis Leatherby also spoke to shareholders and expressed confidence in the direction of the company. He noted Tyson's liquidity, which was $1.1 billion at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2009, enabled the company to make international acquisitions and fund its renewable products efforts.