SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) _ Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat company, tumbled more than 8 percent Monday after it lowered its earnings forecast for this fiscal year, citing expenses from plant closings and weaker demand for meat because of the discovery of a case of mad cow disease.
The Springdale-based company said it expects to earn between $1.08 and $1.15 per share for the fiscal year ending Oct. 2, down 18 cents a share from its earlier forecast.
Tyson expects to take a charge of 11 cents per share because of charges related to discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a Washington state cow. No Tyson animal has been found to have mad cow disease but more than 30 countries banned U.S. beef products after the illness was identified late last year.
Beef is Tyson's largest segment. For the nine months ended June 26, Tyson had $8.8 billion in beef sales, compared to sales of $6.1 billion in chicken and $2.1 billion in pork.
Tyson became the world's largest meat company with its 2001 purchase of South Dakota-based meatpacker IBP Inc. for $4.7 billion.
Tyson also said it expects to see earnings reduced by 7 cents per share for plant closings in the first nine months of the fiscal year.
Earnings without the charges would be between $1.26 and $1.33 for the year.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast Tyson to have annual earnings of $1.45 per share before charges.
In morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Tyson shares were down $1.45, or 8.2 percent, at $16.28.
``We presently expect our fourth quarter to be more difficult, primarily due to unfavorable results from grain hedging activity, combined with weaker than expected demand in our chicken and beef segments. Additionally, raw material costs for our prepared foods products did not decline as we expected,'' company chairman and chief executive John Tyson said.
But he said year-over-year earnings per share growth is anticipated to be in the range of 56 percent to 64 percent after adjusting 2004 up by 18 cents for BSE and plant closing costs and adjusting 2003 down by 15 cents for the net benefit of vitamin settlement proceeds, plant closing costs and charges related to an equity interest in a live swine operation.
Last fiscal year, Tyson earned $337 million, or 96 cents per share, on sales of $24.55 billion.
The company is to release its fourth quarter and full-year earnings on Nov. 15.