SPRINGDALE, Ark. – Tyson reported a record adjusted operating margin of 12.5 percent, while just exceeding expectations of adjusted earnings per share of $1.57 by reporting $1.58 EPS for its fiscal first quarter, ended Dec. 29, 2018, down 13 percent from the same period last year.

Sales for the quarter were $10.19 billion with operating income of $807 million in Q1 of 2019 compared to $10.23 billion in fiscal 2018 when operating income was $922 million.

“Our diversified business model continues to set Tyson Foods apart,” said Noel White, president and CEO. “The Prepared Foods and Beef segments delivered strong results in our fiscal first quarter, while the Pork and Chicken segments performed well given market conditions.”

Sales in the Beef segment, at $3.93 billion, and chicken, at $3.11 billion, exceeded the previous year period by $4 billion, up 0.9 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Beef sales volume slipped as the result of decreased slaughter numbers, but positive export demand bolstered the segment’s sales price and overall performance. Increased sales volume of chicken was attributed to additional volume from the 2018 acquisitions of Tecumseh Poultry, American Proteins Inc. and Keystone Foods.

“In the first quarter, we completed the acquisition of Keystone Foods,” White said. “I’m pleased with the progress of the integration and remain confident Keystone will play an important role as we execute our growth strategy, particularly with strategic customers and in key international markets.”

Pork segment sales dropped 3.6 percent to $1.18 billion from $1.28 billion during the same period last year. The sales decrease resulted from the company’s efforts to balance supply with demand as margins and sales prices decreased due to the surplus of pork in the domestic market as well as higher operating and labor costs.

Tyson’s Prepared Foods business reported sales of $2.15 billion for Q1, down 12.9 percent from $2.29 billion in 2018 with a price increase of 6.7 percent.  The sales volume decrease was due to business divestitures, according to Tyson. Operating income increased because of positive demand and a growing product mix, which was, however partially offset by increased operating and labor costs.

“We’re proud of the growth Prepared Foods has achieved in the past five years and the role it has played in stabilizing volatility while growing earnings,” White said. “Moving forward, we will remain focused on growing Prepared Foods as well as our value-added and international businesses.”

 White’s outlook for the remainder of the year was positive.

“Fiscal 2019 holds many opportunities for Tyson Foods,” he said. “Global protein demand remains strong, and we are well positioned to meet the demand with our diversified business model and differentiated portfolio. Our cash flow and strong balance sheet support our capital commitments and our growth strategy. Our team is focused on the success of our stakeholders, and I am confident in our ability to deliver on our fiscal 2019 outlook of $5.75-6.10 adjusted earnings per share while enabling long-term, sustainable growth.”