Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Jan 14, 2005
by WLJ

Lone Star reports earnings
Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. reported fourth quarter earnings were up for all its restaurants except for Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon which ended the fourth quarter down 1.7 percent. Positive fourth quarter earnings include Sullivan’s Steakhouse, 3.1 percent, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, 17 percent, and Texas Land & Cattle Steak House, 7.9 percent. Year ending results were up for all its restaurants—Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon, 0.6 percent, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, 5.6 percent, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, 23.2 percent and Texas Land & Cattle Steak House, 9.9 percent. Company earnings were up 1.3 percent for the fourth quarter, with an overall 3.6 percent increase for the year.

Aussie beef to Korea hits record
Australia recorded its highest ever monthly beef exports to Korea in December 2004, according to Meat and Livestock Australia. Exports reached 13,500 metric tons as importers built up stocks for the Korean New Year Feb. 8-10. That figure represented a 133 percent increase compared to the same month last year. Total Australian beef exports for the year reached 93,300 metric tons, up 50 percent compared to 2003 and the highest level since 1992. Demand for chilled beef showed strong growth in 2004, with exports reaching 12,200 tons for the year, 89 percent above 2003 levels. The share of chilled beef also increased from 10 percent of total exports in 2003 to 13 percent in 2004. Exports of frozen beef increased significantly—up by 45 percent on 2003 levels to reach 81,100 metric tons.

Wendy's sales struggle, again
Wendy's International reported a slide in same-store sales in December, projected wider losses for the fourth quarter and vowed to fight a $5 million verdict in a dispute with a Florida firm over the purchase of 27 restaurants more than a decade ago. The company is writing down the value of its Baja Fresh Mexican restaurant chain for $175 to $195 million. Legal costs over the $5 million verdict will raise Wendy's loss for the fourth quarter from $1.06 to $1.26 per share, up from its earlier estimate of $1.02 to $1.23. U.S. same-store sales slid 2.1 percent in December, compared to a 9 percent increase a year ago. Same-store sales increased 2.9 percent at company-owned Wendy's stores and 1.7 percent to 1.8 percent at franchised stores.

Beef sub earns permanent spot
The success and popularity of the Steakhouse Beef Dip Sub—the sandwich that moved more than one million pounds of beef in a six-week partnership between the beef checkoff program and Quiznos Subs—have earned it a permanent place on the chain’s menu. “The Steakhouse Beef Dip Sub was the most successful menu item introduction in our history,” said Trey Hall, chief marketing officer for Quiznos Sub. “We are extremely pleased with our partnership with the beef checkoff program.”

Uganda steps up export efforts
The Ugandan Beef Processors Association (UBPA) has formed a joint venture with a Kenyan company to increase beef production for export, according to published reports. UBPA has acquired a 49 percent stake in the Senko Livestock Farm in Mukono district, which was formerly owned by the government. The Kenyan company, Critical Mass Group, has taken the remaining 51 percent. The new venture will enable the UBPA to source cattle, breed and distribute them to farmers as well as slaughter and pack the meat for export. The project is expected to cost $65 million over five years including investment in machinery, a slaughter plant, and processing and packing equipment. The program plans to export 50,000 metric tons of beef within five years and also increase local consumption.

CA packer changes financiers
Brawley Beef, a U.S. beef processing and distribution company, has announced it has entered into a new three-year, $30 million asset-based credit facility with Wells Fargo Business Credit as its main operating lender. The new facility replaces the company's previous $10 million revolving credit agreement with Bank of the West.

World’s top 10 U.S. beef cuts
The U.S. Meat Export Federation and the beef checkoff program have identified 10 U.S. beef items that enjoy the greatest global demand. Top selling muscle meats are, in this order, short plate, short rib, chuck roll, outside skirt steak, hanging tender and rib finger. The top selling variety meats are liver, intestine, tongue and tripe. This information guides USMEF’s offshore marketing efforts in order to maintain sales of these products while building new markets for complementary U.S. beef products.