Tyson is reporting its 4th quarter 2009 earnings per share (EPS) were $1.22, which included a non-cash goodwill impairment charge in its beef segment of $560 million, or $1.50 per share.

Fourth quarter EPS excluding the goodwill impairment charge was $0.28, compared to $0.13 last year.

Aside from the impairment charge, all operating segments were profitable for the quarter:

  • Chicken operating income $32 million, or 1.2% of sales
  • Pork operating income $48 million, or 5.5% of sales
  • Prepared foods operating income $39 million, or 5.3% of sales
  • Beef operating income $120 million, or 4% of sales

In the company's chicken segment, industry pullet placements were down 5% to 6% at the end of fiscal 2009 as a result of weaker demand. However, the company expects demand will improve further into fiscal 2010. Tyson is forecasting the pricing environment to improve, aided by cold storage inventories, which are down relative to levels over the last several years. Grain costs also are expected to be down as compared to fiscal 2009. The company also said it will focus on making operational improvements to help maximize margins.

"We think beef, pork and prepared foods will continue with a solid performance, and we expect the steps we've taken to improve chicken will manifest themselves," said Jim Lochner, Tyson's new chief operating officer.