Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
May 9, 2005
by WLJ

Tyson settles federal case
Tyson Foods has paid a $1.5 million fine and its former senior chairman, Don Tyson, has paid $700,000 to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that the company had failed to disclose certain benefits paid to Tyson over the past several years. Don Tyson also repaid $1.516 million to the company. Tyson and Don Tyson neither admit nor deny wrongdoing.

Wendy's sales up, profits decline
First quarter sales at Wendy's International increased 7.1 percent to $894 million from $835 million a year ago, but inclement weather in parts of the country cut profits by 2.8 percent, from $52.8 million to $51.3 million. Unfounded claims by a Nevada woman that she found a human finger in her bowl of chili, caused a chain-wide same-store sales impact of about two percent in the last week of the quarter, according to the company. Despite the difficult quarter, Wendy's still beat analysts' expectations by five cents a share.

Canadian packer shut down
Provincial authorities in Ontario, Canada, have suspended a license of a meat processing plant. Authorities are holding all the meat products from Denview Meat Packers and warning the public not to eat any products they have bought. The warning is because of concerns that animals weren’t correctly inspected prior to slaughter to ensure that they are healthy. The provincial agriculture and health departments together with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are investigating the problem to see if further action needs to be taken.

Coleman unveils all-natural line
Coleman Natural Foods announced it is introducing a line of all natural beef. The new Coleman Purely Natural line will be offered in dedicated natural meat sections within conventional grocery stores nationwide. “By offering various all-natural protein options at grocery stores, we are presenting consumers with a truly natural meat option, much like the choices they have in the produce and dairy areas of the store," said Jeff Tripician, Coleman vice president and chief marketing officer.

Japan imports jump
Beef imports into Japan during March were up 46 percent, compared to March 2004. The increase was largely a reflection of the strengthened Australian supply capacities since the ban on U.S. beef in late 2003. The value of beef imported during March just passed 20 million yen, with Australia holding 91 percent of the market. March is traditionally a strong month for beef imports in Japan, in the lead up to expected increased retail demand during the Golden Week holiday later this month.

Simons receives Golden Parachute
Swift & Co. has given former chief executive John Simons a severance package worth approximately $7.2 million, including $2.3 million in severance pay, $3.4 million for four million unused stock options and $1.2 million for about 1.2 million shares of Swift stock. He will also be paid approximately $225,000 for an upcoming six-month consulting period. The settlement was almost equal to the $7.25 million the company earned over the first three quarters of fiscal year 2005.

Saskatchewan beef plant planned
Organizers of Yellowhead Natural Beef are hoping to build a federally inspected facility that would supply Natural Valley's processing plant in Wolseley, Saskatchewan. Kathy Martin of Natural Valley said the relationship would be similar to the plant proposed for Neepawa, Manitoba, which intends to slaughter cattle and send the meat to Wolseley for processing. The organizers found they were looking at 52,000 head per year. Skjerven said the steering group has done feasibility studies, formed an interim board and is preparing to raise equity capital. The plant could be operating as soon as the spring of 2006 or as late as spring 2007.

Packer wins workplace award
Greater Omaha Packing Co., Omaha, NE, was one of the top award winners in the Omaha's Best Paces to Work competition. The contest, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, honored five small companies and five larger ones, based on the results of over 10,000 completed surveys from area employees. Greater Omaha Packing, with about 750 employees, finished fourth in the large-company division, which was dominated by service companies. The company will also receive a significant workplace safety award later this month. The Omaha chapter of the National Safety Council will award Greater Omaha Packing its Platinum Award of Honor with Distinction for 12 consecutive years of outstanding worker health and safety accomplishment.

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