US meat processor Tyson Foods has said it expects profit for its most recent quarter to fall below the year-ago level.

Tyson said it expects earnings for the fiscal third quarter to 28 June to be between 19 cents and 22 cents a share, compared to 25 cents a year earlier, excluding a 5-cent gain from the settlement of a lawsuit, reported Reuters.

The guidance, which breaks away from Tyson’s policy of not giving quarterly forecasts, came hours after Credit Suisse First Boston analyst David Nelson had issued an estimate of 37 cents a share for the quarter, more than double his previous estimate.

In response to Tyson’s guidance, Nelson lowered his estimate to 22 cents a share. "Given what we see in the chicken and beef-packing markets, we thought the sequential improvement was going to be much better," Nelson was quoted by Reuters as saying. "Other things must be going on that are not visible."

In a statement, Tyson chairman and CEO John Tyson said, "Recent earnings estimates in the market are materially inconsistent with our knowledge of expected results. Our quarter has ended and accounting work is substantially complete, and I felt it was appropriate at this time to ensure accurate information in the market for all of our shareholders."

Tyson did not give specific reasons for the expected decline in earnings.