US meat processor Tyson Foods has reported higher fourth-quarter net income despite a negative impact from Hurricane Katrina.

The company posted net income of US$98m, or 28 cents per share, for the quarter to 1 October, compared to $66m, or 19 cents per share, for the year-ago quarter. Fourth quarter 2005 sales were $6.5bn compared to $7.1bn for the same period last year.

Earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005 included a non-recurring income tax net benefit of $15m. Additionally, the fourth quarter included $8m of pre-tax losses related to Hurricane Katrina. The company said it anticipates additional Hurricane Katrina related costs in the first quarter of fiscal 2006.

For the full year, net income was $353m, or 99 cents per share, compared to $403m, or $1.13 per share. Sales for fiscal year 2005 were $26.0bn compared to $26.4bn for the same period last year.

“I am proud of the way our people executed our business strategy during the challenging circumstances we faced in fiscal 2005,” said John Tyson, chairman and CEO. “Our chicken business performed well, and our pork business improved in the fourth quarter. However, with export markets closed throughout the year and Canadian import issues, our beef business was difficult.

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“We are encouraged by recent developments in export market access, but fiscal 2006 will present only gradual recovery in beef as those markets begin to open and cattle supplies improve. As domestic hog supplies continue to improve, the pork segment should generate more normal returns. We expect our chicken business to remain solid, and our prepared foods’ segment market share to improve.”

Tyson said is estimating its fiscal 2006 diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $0.95 to $1.25.