With its bullish attitude, Tyson is more than chicken. One of the largest US chicken producers, Tyson's Fresh Meats division makes it a giant in the beef and pork sectors as well. The company also offers value-added processed and pre-cooked meats and refrigerated and frozen prepared foods. Its chicken operations are vertically integrated -- the company hatches the eggs, supplies contract growers with the chicks and feed, and brings them back for processing when ready. Tyson processes 42 million chickens, 390,000 pigs, and 144,000 head of cattle every week. Its customers include retail, wholesale, and foodservice customers in the US and more than 100 other countries.
As part of its operations, the company boasts four business segments: chicken, beef, pork, and prepared foods. Tyson's wholly-owned subsidiary Cobb-Vantress Inc. is a top poultry breeding stock supplier globally that leverages research and development to breed desirable characteristics into its flocks. Tyson is known for its chicken, but it also produces beef and pork products. The company's fresh meat operations process beef and pork, offering processed pork products such as sausage, ham, and bacon. Aside from a significant foodservice operation, Tyson's prepared foods unit produces pizza toppings and frozen entrées. Other Tyson activities include rendering meat by-products and tortilla and pizza-crust manufacturing. While its chicken operations reach from egg to drumstick, Tyson raises no cattle of its own. It buys live cattle on the open market and they're raised under contract at third-party feed lots. The majority of Tyson's swine are bought from producers; however, it does raise some swine and supplies the resultant feeder pigs to independent producers on a contract basis.
Tyson has been getting into new markets in recent years to add breadth to its products portfolio. Taking advantage of this affinity for animals, the company introduced True Chews, a line of beef, chicken, and ham-flavored dog treats. Banking on a billion-dollar pet treat market, Tyson rolled out the products, sourcing ingredients used in True Chews from the company's meat and poultry operations. For another venture outside its usual food chain, the company has moved into biofuels. It began supplying the animal fats and greases from its meat production operations to Dynamic Fuels, its Louisiana-based 50:50 joint venture with Syntroleum that produces renewable fuels from the by-products. Production began in late 2010.
The company serves customers in the US and in more than 130 countries worldwide. Tyson's major export markets include Canada, Central America, China, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, the Middle East, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Through several plant closings during the past couple years, Tyson has eked out revenue increases following the global recession that took a bite out of its net income. Revenue in 2011 rose more than 13% vs. 2010 due to increased demand for its products across all segments, thanks to price hikes and a boost in demand. Sales increases were driven by Tyson's beef and pork segments. Tyson's chicken segment remained profitable in 2011 but it faced rising costs associated with grain and other feed ingredients, as well as excess industry supplies. Net income in 2011 decreased 4% as compared to 2010. Tyson points to a rise in input cost per pound, as well as $236 million less in cash generated by operating activities and a rise in investment activities. For Tyson, operating margins vary by segment: pork (10%), prepared foods (4%), beef (4%), and chicken (2%). In 2012 Tyson anticipates sales to exceed $34 billion, resulting from price hikes due to decreased supply and rising raw material costs.
Tyson Foods is controlled by Tyson Limited Partnership (TLP), a small group of Tyson family relatives, retired Tyson Foods executives, and friends of the late Don Tyson, who led TLP at the time of his death in early 2011.
Sales and Marketing
Wal-Mart accounted for about 13% of Tyson's sales for 2011. – less