NEW YORK – Moody's affirmed Tyson Foods Inc.'s Ba1 rating and revised its outlook for the company to positive from stable.

The credit rating agency said it expects Tyson should be able to sustain moderate leverage and bolster its liquidity profile over the next 12 to 18 months, which could lead to an upgrade. The agency's positive outlook for Tyson also considers challenges the meat and poultry industry will face over the next year.

"Given the amount of debt Tyson has recently paid down, leverage is currently less of a concern than it has been in the past," said Brian Weddington, a Moody's vice president-Senior Credit Officer. "As we move through this period when we expect that two of the three main proteins are likely to generate below-average earnings, leverage should remain reasonably low, but Tyson may need to further strengthen its liquidity profile to warrant an upgrade."