CHICAGO (Reuters) – Tyson Foods Inc is shipping meat to China and has additional orders on the books as a fatal pig disease has created a pork shortage there, the company said on Thursday as it reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales.
Shares fell 3% and hit their lowest in more than three months as Tyson also said it would eliminate 500 jobs as part of a restructuring.
Tyson is competing with other global companies to supply meat to China, the world’s largest pork consumer, as an outbreak of African swine fever has decimated the Chinese herd.
Separately, an outbreak of coronavirus in people has seen cities quarantined in China, disrupted shipments at ports and raised uncertainty about demand among traders. However, buying interest has still been strong, Tyson Chief Executive Noel White told analysts on a conference call.
Tyson is also selling pork to other countries that have seen their typical supply chains disrupted by China’s increased buying, he said.
“We’re filling additional orders to China and we’ve seen year-over-year increases of nearly 600% in the first quarter,” White said.