JBS gives up on National Beef acquisition

 by Sam Gazdziak

JBS, owner of JBS-Swift, has announced it has abandoned its attempt to take over National Beef Packing Co. The Brazilian-headquartered company originally announced its intentions to buy the company in 2008 when its acquired Smithfield Foods’ beef operations, and it has been in talks with the U.S. Justice Department about gaining approval to complete the acquisition. The deal was valued at $970 million in cash, stock and debt.


“JBS has made efforts to find a solution with all parts involved, but given the lack of satisfactory conditions, it decided not to go forward with the acquisition,” the company said in a statement, Reuters reports.


JBS also posted a consolidated fourth-quarter loss of 53.5 million reais ($23 million USD) and said that customers were holding less stock. “Despite the consumption of beef protein having suffered little change in the past months, the lack of credit for exports has provoked the reduction in stocks in importer countries,” the company said.


Source: Reuters

Sanderson Farms sees feed costs to drop in 2009

At the company’s annual stockholders meeting, Sanderson Farms announced that lower grain prices should reduce its fiscal feed costs by $129 million from fiscal 2008, but the company expects that changes in chicken demand won’t improve until 2010.


“I suspect it might be well into 2010 before the American consumer really returns to restaurants,” said Joe Sanderson, chairman and CEO. “Because I don’t expect much help from the demand side, chicken market improvement will still have to come from supply cuts.


“Our accomplishments for the year included record sales of over $1.724 billion, surpassing the previous year’s record of $1.475 billion. Our revenue growth since 1992 reflects our growth strategy that has seen us increase our production over each of the past 17 years,” Sanderson added. He said that despite the company’s performance, it was affected by the higher grain costs and economic conditions in the second half of its fiscal year. “While we expect these conditions to continue in fiscal 2009, we remain confident in our ability to confront these current challenges,” he added.


Source: Reuters, Sanderson Farms

Outback Steakhouse offer cheaper menu items

Outback Steakhouse is changing its menu to include 15 meals under $15, starting as low as $9.95. “We know consumers crave great tasting, high quality appetizers, entrees and desserts,” said Jeff Smith, president of the company. “Our new menu includes classic favorites and new culinary creations, at prices that are easy on the wallet.”


Some of the discounted items include: Savory Pepper Mill Steak, Sweet Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Ribs and Alice Spring Chicken, and Shrimp En Fuego.


Source: Outback Steakhouse

One in four Americans get food poisoning each year

The Center for Disease Control announced that as many of a quarter of Americans suffer food poisoning each year, though only a fraction of those cases get linked to high-profile outbreaks. Scientists have counted more than 250 food-related types of illnesses, including viruses, bacteria and parasites.


In its most recent study, done 10 years ago, the CDC estimated that 76 million Americans got food poisoning each year, with 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. Using the CDC’s formula, The Associated Press estimated numbers with the current U.S. population would be 87 million cases, 371,000 hospitalizations and 5,700 deaths.


Numerous officials add that the U.S. food supply is still one of the safest in the world. The World Health Organization estimates that 30 percent of people in industrialized nations suffer from food poisoning yearly, with the numbers being much higher in developing countries.


Source: Associated Press

Tyson offers $500 million in notes

Tyson Foods will issue $500 million in notes and plans to arrange a new $1 billion line of credit. The $500 million in unsecured senior notes will be due in 2014, and the company said it will use the proceeds to repay debt and end commitments for its accounts receivables, Reuters reports.


The $1 billion line of credit would be secured by inventory, accounts receivable and cash and would be guaranteed by Tyson’s domestic subsidiaries.


Source: Reuters