updated 2/23/2011 10:46:45 AM ET 2011-02-23T15:46:45

SPRINGDALE, Ark., Feb. 23, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) today announced that it has amended its $1 billion credit facility with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., as Administrative Agent.

The credit facility continues to be secured by the company's domestic cash, accounts receivable and inventory, and guaranteed by substantially all of the company's domestic subsidiaries. 

The facility contains a new provision, among others, which allows the lien on such collateral to be released following the company satisfying a corporate credit ratings test which occurs when the company's corporate credit ratings are (i) at least Baa3 or BBB-, in each case with stable outlook or better, from either Moody's Investors Service, Inc. (Moody's) or Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (S&P) and (ii) at least Ba2 or BB, in each case with stable outlook or better, from the other rating agency. Corporate credit ratings Baa3 or higher with Moody's and BBB- or higher with S&P are generally considered to be "investment grade." Tyson's current corporate ratings are Ba2 and BB+.

The amended credit facility is scheduled to mature, and the commitments thereunder will terminate, subject to the achievement of certain conditions, on February 23, 2016. As of February 23, 2011, there were no outstanding borrowings under the original credit facility, and no borrowings are expected at the time of the effectiveness of the amendment.

At Tyson's existing credit rating, the amended credit facility, together with Tyson's other ongoing debt management efforts, are expected to reduce the company's net interest expense for the 2011 fiscal year to $245 million. In addition, the amended credit facility contains financial maintenance covenants typical of an investment grade facility that will provide the company with greater operating and strategic flexibility than it had in its previous credit facility.

"This amended credit facility, and particularly the collateral release provision, is another reflection of the company's improved financial performance since the 2009 fiscal year," said Dennis Leatherby, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Tyson Foods.  "As we've said on more than one occasion, getting our company back to 'investment grade' has been one of our goals and this amended credit facility is a sign of our lenders' confidence, which we greatly appreciate, that we will reach that goal."

Tyson Foods, Inc., founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world's largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork, the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products and is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves. Tyson provides products and service to customers throughout the United States and more than 100 countries. The company has approximately 115,000 Team Members employed at more than 400 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.

The Tyson Foods, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3224

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain information contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements, such as statements relating to expected results. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties which could cause our actual results and experiences to differ materially from the anticipated results and expectations, expressed in such forward-looking statements. We wish to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. Among the factors that may cause actual results and experiences to differ from anticipated results and expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are the following: (i) the effect of, or changes in, general economic conditions; (ii) fluctuations in the cost and availability of inputs and raw materials, such as live cattle, live swine, feed grains (including corn and soybean meal) and energy; (iii) market conditions for finished products, including competition from other global and domestic food processors, supply and pricing of competing products and alternative proteins and demand for alternative proteins; (iv) successful rationalization of existing facilities and operating efficiencies of the facilities; (v) risks associated with our commodity purchasing activities; (vi) access to foreign markets together with foreign economic conditions, including currency fluctuations, import/export restrictions and foreign politics; (vii) outbreak of a livestock disease (such as avian influenza (AI) or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)), which could have an adverse effect on livestock we own, the availability of livestock we purchase, consumer perception of certain protein products or our ability to access certain domestic and foreign markets; (viii) changes in availability and relative costs of labor and contract growers and our ability to maintain good relationships with employees, labor unions, contract growers and independent producers providing us livestock; (ix) issues related to food safety, including costs resulting from product recalls, regulatory compliance and any related claims or litigation; (x) changes in consumer preference and diets and our ability to identify and react to consumer trends; (xi) significant marketing plan changes by large customers or loss of one or more large customers; (xii) adverse results from litigation; (xiii) risks associated with leverage, including cost increases due to rising interest rates or changes in debt ratings or outlook; (xiv) compliance with and changes to regulations and laws (both domestic and foreign), including changes in accounting standards, tax laws, environmental laws, agricultural laws and occupational, health and safety laws; (xv) our ability to make effective acquisitions or joint ventures and successfully integrate newly acquired businesses into existing operations; (xvi) effectiveness of advertising and marketing programs; and (xvii) those factors listed under Item 1A. "Risk Factors" included in our October 2, 2010, Annual Report filed on Form 10-K.

CONTACT:  Media Contact:
          Gary Mickelson 479-290-6111 or gary.mickelson@tyson.com
         
          Investor Contact:
          Ruth Ann Wisener 479-290-4235

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