US meat processor Tyson Foods has reported a rise in second-quarter profit despite lower beef sales as a result of trade restrictions imposed by various nations after a US case of BSE.

The company posted net income of US$119m, or 33 cents per share, for the second quarter to 27 March, compared to $72m, or 20 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Second-quarter sales were $6.2bn, compared to $5.8bn for the same period last year. Operating income rose to $263m from $183m a year earlier.

"Our second quarter is historically the most difficult, but we had a very good quarter even with the difficult conditions our beef business faced," said CEO John Tyson.

"Our chicken segment had improvements in pricing, mix and operating costs and benefited from our on-going commodity risk management hedging activities. Our pork business was solid, and we are making progress in our prepared foods segment," he added.

Beef segment sales decreased in the second quarter compared to the same period last year. Domestic fresh meat beef sales increased 4.3%, international beef sales decreased 39.9% and case-ready beef sales increased 8.8%. The diagnosis of a single case of BSE in a Washington state cow in the first quarter of fiscal 2004, along with the resulting import restrictions on US beef products imposed by various countries, continues to negatively impact the beef segment's results of operations, Tyson said.

The company said it expects fiscal 2004 diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.05 to $1.25.