S&P, Fitch Return Tyson Foods' Ratings to Investment Grade

/ Source: GlobeNewswire

SPRINGDALE, Ark., Feb. 25, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Standard & Poor's (S&P) Ratings Services and Fitch Ratings have both upgraded their debt ratings for Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN), returning the company to investment grade the company reported today.

S&P announced Thursday it is raising the ratings on Tyson, including the corporate credit rating to 'BBB-' from 'BB+'. S&P also raised the issue-level ratings on Tyson's 10.5% senior unsecured notes due 2014 and 7.35% senior unsecured notes due 2016 to 'BBB-' from 'BB+', and withdrew its '3' recovery ratings on this debt.  It is also withdrawing its '4' recovery ratings on all other senior unsecured debt, while keeping the 'BB+' issue-level ratings on this debt unchanged.

According to the S&P announcement, "Although U.S. meat marketer and producer Tyson Foods' strengthened operating performance may decline in the coming quarters due to higher commodity costs, we believe its improved credit measures will continue to support a higher rating."  S&P also reported, "The outlook is stable, reflecting our belief that the company will continue to maintain, on average, credit measures that support the ratings."

To see the full text of the S&P announcement on Tyson Foods, go to

Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings this week announced it has upgraded the Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and other debt ratings of Tyson Foods.  Long-term IDR has been moved to 'BBB-' from 'BB+'; senior unsecured notes to 'BBB-' from 'BB'; and senior guaranteed unsecured notes to 'BBB-' from 'BB+'.  In addition Fitch has concurrently affirmed the secured bank facility at 'BBB-' and also assigned a new short-term IDR at 'F3'.

According to the Fitch announcement, "the upgrade in Tyson's ratings to investment grade is due to the company's commitment toward a more conservative capital structure and financial strategy, which is resulting in considerable debt reduction, an extended period of strong cash flow generation, and significantly improved credit metrics."

To see the full text of the Fitch news release, go to: 

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN), 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 services to customers throughout the United States and more than 90 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

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