Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN), today announced its fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013 financial results. In this connection, its President and CEO Donnie Smith hosted an earnings conference call earlier this morning. Below is the full text of the commentary made by Tyson Foods’ President and CEO:
“As we closed the books on fiscal 2013, I want to celebrate what Tyson Foods achieved this past year. We produced record earnings of $2.26 a share or 15% growth over the previous year, surpassing our goal of at least 10% EPS growth. We grew sales by 4%, achieving our goal and reaching a new record of $34.4 billion.
Operating income grew 7% or $89 million over the prior year, despite $470 million of incremental feed costs. We grew sales of value-added products by nearly 6% against a very aggressive goal of 6% to 8%. We made significant progress in building our international chicken producing, growing sales by 20% against a goal of 12% to 16%. We returned $650 million to shareholders by paying out $100 million in dividends and buying back 21.1 million shares of stock for $550 million. Our stock was up 78% for the fiscal year and we reached a new all-time high stock price.
ROIC continues to be over 18%. At the end of the fiscal year, net debt was $1.3 billion and net debt-to-cap was at 17%. We made two prepared foods acquisitions, Don Julio and Circle Foods. And we had a greater focus on growth drivers while maintaining a steadfast commitment to operational excellence, which is carrying us into another year of growth in 2014. That’s what we did.
Now, let’s look at the macro environment we were operating in. We continued to see a shift away from foodservice into retail reflecting the overall economy. Now that’s not to say our foodservice business wasn’t successful. In fact, it did very well in a challenging year for the foodservice industry in general.
We were nimble to respond as consumers moved among proteins and channels, depending on their confidence in the economy and the effect gas prices had on disposable income. We are also seeing more bifurcation among consumers between those choosing higher priced value-added products and those moving down the value stream to save money.