What happened

Shares of Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE:TSN) rose 11.3% in September, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, after the food company increased its financial guidance and reduced its corporate head count.

The meatiest of Tyson's gains last month came on Sept. 29, when shares rose 7.6% after the company announced that adjusted earnings per share for the 2017 fiscal year (ended Sept. 30, 2017) are now expected to be $5.20 to $5.30, up from previous guidance for a range of $4.95 to $5.05.

Tyson Foods semi truck


So what

According to Tyson's press release, the credit for its relative outperformance goes to a significantly better-than-expected quarter from the beef segment.

In addition, Tyson predicted another strong year ahead, offering preliminary guidance for fiscal 2018 adjusted earnings per share in the range of $5.70 to $5.85. Tyson Foods further announced it will reduce its head count by roughly 450 positions "across several areas and job levels" -- though the majority of those positions are from Tyson's corporate offices in Springdale, Chicago, and Cincinnati.

Tyson Foods CEO Tom Hayes admitted this was a "hard" decision, but insisted both "customers and consumers will benefit from our more agile, responsive organization as we grow our business through differentiated capabilities, deliver ongoing financial fitness through continuous improvement and sustain our company and our world for future generations."

Now what

Over the longer term, Tyson also elaborated on its cost-synergy initiatives following its acquisition of AdvancePierre Foods in June. The company anticipates it will be able to generate cumulative net savings of $200 million in fiscal 2018, $400 million in fiscal 2019, and $600 million in fiscal 2020. Those synergies will have the most impact on Tyson Foods' prepared foods and chicken segments.

In the meantime, when Tyson Foods formally announces its fourth-quarter results in early November, it will recognize restructuring charges of $140 million to $150 million. But however unfortunate the reduction in force, in particular, it's encouraging that Tyson is implementing these changes from a position of strength. This should ensure that it continues to survive and thrive for years to come, and it seems likely that its share price will follow suit.

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