Shares in US meat giant Tyson Foods rose 11% yesterday despite the company posting a quarterly loss hurt by weak sales and an income tax expense.

Tyson climbed US$1.14 to $11.70 at 16:15 pm in New York trading yesterday (4 May), the company’s biggest gain since December 2008.

The Arkansas-based company reported a loss of $104m for the second quarter ended 28 March, compared with a loss of $5m a year earlier. The loss included $0.17 per share from a change in the method used to recognise interim income taxes and a $10m pretax loss on the sale of Lakeside Farm Industries.

Operating income also fell, dropping to $29m from $54m in the same quarter of 2008.

Net sales dipped slightly from 2008 to reach $6.31bn from $6.34 in the previous year.

Tyson, meanwhile, insisted that none of its pork plants had been impacted by export bans following the H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak. The company posted a 13.4% increase in pork segment sales to $844m.

“It is too soon to predict the impact of the H1N1 outbreak,” said Leland Tollett, Tyson’s interim president and CEO. “At this point, none of our pork plants are impacted by export bans. Our multi-protein, multi-sales channel business model puts us in a good position should consumers change which proteins they buy or where they buy them.”

The company said its chicken segment has been profitable since the end of February, and it was pleased with the “consistent progress” it was making.

Chicken segment sales were up 37.4% to $2.4bn for the quarterly period.

For the six months to 28 March, Tyson posted a net loss of $216m compared to $29m in the previous year and a slight increase in net sales to $12.82bn from $12.81bn in 2008.