beat expectations despite reporting a lower fourth-quarter profit, as beef sales slumped in the period.
The Arkansas-based company had net income of $66 million, or 19 cents a share, vs. $147 million, or 42 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The company took 10 cents a share in charges for plant closings, asset writedowns and the impairments of assets.
Analysts expected the company to earn 17 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call.
Fourth-quarter 2004 sales were $7.1 billion, compared to $6.6 billion for the same period last year. Pork sales led gains, rising 37.2% to $889 million. Beef sales fell 4.1%. Operating income was $178 million, compared to $308 million.
The company forecast 2005 diluted EPS in the range of $1.15 to $1.45. The consensus forecast is $1.30 a share.
Shares ended at $16.88 Friday.