If you're looking at Tyson Foods'
Why? The chicken was going the wrong direction before.
Five weeks ago, the company stated it was looking to earn between $0.10 and $0.14 a share in its fiscal second quarter. Last night, it took a pin to those projections, and it now hopes to simply break even. Tyson refused to give a full-year forecast, but with that kind of skinless and boneless showing, you can assume January's high of as much as a buck a share in profits is as good as grilled.
The problem isn't in the poultry. Our own Bill Mann looked at an intriguing sector play with Industrias Bachoco
What? You didn't know Tyson makes beef and pork products? Few knew, so the company earmarked $100 million this year to market its meatier product lines. While its reason for moving into new protein areas appears sound at first (its established relationships with distributors, wholesalers, and foodservice players), we'll see if it can bring home the bacon.
Tyson has been cutting up chicken since 1935, and new dynamics are eating away at the company. By acquiring IBP and its well-entrenched meat lines, Tyson also inherited new problems. When its top poultry buyer in Russia went soft in December, it also had to cope with a surplus of beef, higher cattle prices, and poor meat sales in Japan. All these factors are having their way with already-lean margins.
Tyson ordered a meat-lover's market share of pie, and so far, it's eating crow.