SAN FRANCISCO -- Challenging times will ultimately benefit Tyson Foods, Inc., says the company's chief financial officer, because they have prompted Tyson to re-examine every aspect of its business.



Wade Miquelon, executive vice president and CFO of Tyson Foods, spoke to investors Wednesday at the Bank of America 36th Annual Investment Conference in San Francisco.



"While I believe the past year will be shown as an anomaly ... we don't want to make excuses and realize it's our responsibility to drive shareholder value in good times and bad," Miquelon said.



Tyson has experienced financial losses in fiscal 2006; however, Miquelon reported the company has responded by "challenging every aspect of our business, our business models and how we create value. As a team, we're on the journey of reinventing and transforming Tyson."



Miquelon said the company is focused on becoming even better at creating demand.



"We've done a good job in areas like innovation and branding, but we can do more," he said. "One intervention example is the company's new 'Discovery Center,' a research and development facility that will be a hub of innovation and consumer insights."



This new complex, scheduled to open in early 2007 at the company's headquarters in Springdale, Ark., will include a building that will house 18 test kitchens. In addition, a USDA-inspected pilot plant is being built to provide a manufacturing environment for product development and new concepts to improve "speed to market."



To complement Tyson's strong management team, the company has also hired several "stellar" outsiders, Miquelon said. They include group vice president of Consumer Products Rob DeMartini, who was a senior vice president for The Gillette Company; and group vice president of International Rick Greubel, who was formerly President of Monsanto Brazil.



Miquelon told the audience Tyson also aims to become even better at price optimization.



"This doesn't just mean raising prices," he said. "It means optimizing our multi-protein portfolio, getting a better return on our marketing and promotional spending, devoting more resources to partner with loyal customers and maximizing the way we use our raw materials."



As previously reported, Tyson is also implementing approximately $200 million in cost reductions in an effort to help return the company to profitability. Company officials believe more than 90 percent of these annual savings will be fully delivered in fiscal year 2007. The $200 million does not include a variety of other operational cost savings projects involving such things as improvements in product yields and plant efficiencies.



Tyson Foods Inc., founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Ark., is the world's largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, the second-largest food company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein- based and prepared food products.



SOURCE: Tyson Foods Inc. via PR Newswire.