US meat giant released a statement today (21 September) saying its US$200m cost-cutting programme was on course, boosted by its price hikes on some meat products and plant closures.

Nevertheless, the fiscal fourth quarter, which ends 30 September, is expected to see the company just break even, or even generate a loss of up to ten cents per share. Analysts expect a loss excluding one-off items in the quarter of two cents a share, or five cents based on GAAP principles, according to Reuters estimates.

“We are focused on returning to profitability as soon as possible. We have had two consecutive quarters of loss and that leaves a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth at Tyson,” said CFO Wade Miquelon during a webcast presentation at the Bank of America Investor Conference.

A downturn in the meat market earlier this year hit Tyson and its peers hard. The glut was caused by an unfortunate combination of factors including export bans on beef, bird flu depressing poultry sales and the ongoing effect of Hurricane Katrina closing export facilities.

Miquelon said Tyson also aims to become even better at price optimisation. “This doesn’t just mean raising prices,” he said. “It means optimising our multi-protein portfolio, getting a better return on our marketing and promotional spending, devoting more resources to partner with loyal customers and maximising the way we use our raw materials.”