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Tyson sells Mexico, Brazil units, posts 4.4% profit rise in 3rd quarter

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published July 28, 2014 at 6:49 a.m.

Tyson Foods on Monday said it was selling its poultry businesses in Mexico and Brazil in an all-cash deal valued at $575 million.

The Springdale-based meat processor also released third-quarter earnings Monday that showed a 4.4 percent uptick in net income attributable to Tyson. It increased from $249 million last year to $260 million this year, or 68 cents per share to 73 cents per share.

Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson, called the latest results "in line with our expectations" and another step toward "what looks to be the best year in our company's history." Tyson is expected this quarter to close a $7.75 billion deal to buy Hillshire Brands Co.

"We're looking forward to closing on the Hillshire acquisition before the end of our fourth quarter, and we're excited about combining the protein industry's best marketing and operations talent into one team," Smith said in a statement. "We'll be ready to start the new fiscal year together and anticipate delivering Tyson's sixth year in a row of strong earnings and operating income and also achieving our goal of at least 10 percent EPS growth in 2015."

Tyson on Monday also announced the sales of its poultry businesses in Mexico and Brazil and said they should close by the end of this year pending regulatory approval. Smith said the proceeds will be used to "pay down debt associated with" the Hillshire deal.

"Although these are good businesses with great team members, we haven't had the necessary scale to gain leading share positions in these markets," he said in a separate statement, noting that Tyson remains "committed to our international business and will continue to explore opportunities to extend our international presence."

The Mexican and Brazilian businesses are being purchased through JBS SA subsidiaries Pilgrim's Pride and JBS Foods, respectively.

Tyson said the new owners intend to keep the plants working at the same capacity with the existing work force.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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