In this file:
· How Tyson’s Chicken Plant Became a $320 Million Turkey
… Tyson’s foray serves as a blueprint for how not to build a new chicken plant…
· Tyson Foods CEO targets smaller deals for growth after $4.2B AdvancePierre buy
… a clear commitment to long-term growth and transforming the company...
How Tyson’s Chicken Plant Became a $320 Million Turkey
Despite offering 1,600 jobs, its proposed facility got the cold shoulder from Tonganoxie, Kansas.
By Megan Durisin and Shruti Singh, Bloomberg
Oct 11, 2017
On Sept. 5, executives from Tyson Foods Inc., the nation’s largest meat processor, traveled to the east Kansas town of Tonganoxie with what they figured would be welcome news for the locals. Joined by Governor Sam Brownback and other political leaders, Doug Ramsey, Tyson’s group president for poultry, unveiled plans to build a huge chicken complex outside of town. The $320 million project, Tyson’s first new plant in 20 years, would be home to a hatchery, feed mill, and processing plant—employing about 1,600 workers to package 1.25 million birds a week.
“Six months ago, I couldn’t have told you where Tonganoxie, Kansas, is,” Ramsey told the townspeople assembled at the Brunswick Ballroom, a local event venue. “I can tell you today that Tonganoxie, Kansas, is the center of the Tyson universe.”
To many small communities, that would have been cause for celebration. But for residents of Tonganoxie (population 5,195), the news—which many locals complain had been kept from them because of nondisclosure agreements that officials had signed during Tyson’s site search—drew a far different response. “Citizens Against Project Sunset” quickly mobilized, borrowing the code name officials had used for the poultry complex, to object to the likely stress on roads and waterways, the plant’s proximity to local schools, and the dozens of chicken barns—often odoriferous operations run by contract growers who would raise the chickens for Tyson’s plant—that would pop up in the area. “I have a daughter in the elementary school, and I don’t want her basically playing in the backyard of a slaughterhouse,” says Jen Peak, a Tonganoxie resident who organized the opposition.
White-and-red signs demanding “No Tyson in Tongie” sprouted up on lawns. The activists sought advice from an organizer from the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project, a group that’s advised opponents of hog and chicken plants in Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois. A mid-September rally organized by some Kansas legislators drew thousands of locals, many concerned about the lack of transparency leading up to the Tyson deal. Not long after, Leavenworth County’s board of commissioners—which five days before Tyson’s announcement approved the intent to issue about $500 million in industrial revenue bonds for facilities, without naming an operator—revoked its decision. Tyson then said it was putting its plans on hold while it investigates other plant locations. At least 15 other Kansas communities have since expressed interest in the project.
The backlash serves as the latest example of grassroots opposition to industrialized food plants, which stoke concern among residents about everything from environmental impact to animal welfare issues and fears of a potential influx of new workers. In the past five years, at least a half-dozen poultry or livestock companies have had to seek alternate sites or scuttle plans because of resistance from locals.
Agriculture and food processing accounts for nearly half of Kansas’ economy. While not part of the Chicken Belt, the state has expanded beyond wheat to become a large producer of corn and soybeans, key components for poultry feed—a likely reason the Tonganoxie region caught Tyson’s eye.
Tyson’s foray serves as a blueprint for how not to build a new chicken plant. First...
... Unlike Tyson, which hasn’t built a new chicken facility since 1996, competitor Sanderson Farms Inc. has built seven plants since 1992. It’s now the third-largest U.S. chicken processor...
...Likewise, Costco Wholesale Corp. and its partner Lincoln Premium Poultry, which are constructing a poultry plant in Fremont, Neb., joined government and economic development officials in a public-relations blitz in the town...
Tyson Foods CEO targets smaller deals for growth after $4.2B AdvancePierre buy
In an exclusive interview, Tom Hayes said his company isn't being valued by Wall Street using the same financial metrics applied to other big-branded food operators — leaving its shares undervalued.
Christopher Doering, FoodDive
Oct. 12, 2017
Fresh off its biggest acquisition in three years, Tyson Foods’ top executive says the meat processor will focus its attention on smaller “bolt-on” deals, but he wouldn't rule out a larger purchase if it was a good fit for the company.
Tyson agreed to pay $4.2 billion in April for AdvancePierre, a maker of ready-to-eat hamburgers, stuffed chicken breasts, cheesesteaks and other sandwiches supplied to restaurants, hospitals, schools as well as convenience stores and vending machines. The purchase advanced Tyson’s goal of expanding into branded and prepared foods that generate larger and more predictable profits than its often volatile meatpacking operations.
“We’re going to stay focused on AdvancePierre and if another transformative acquisition makes a lot of sense — and a lot of it is about timing, we don’t want to overpay — certainly we might consider it,” CEO and President Tom Hayes told Food Dive in an exclusive interview. “Our focus right now is probably more on bolt-on deals, not necessarily transformative ones.”
"Our focus right now is probably more on bolt-on deals, not necessarily transformative ones.”
President and CEO, Tyson Foods
Those smaller deals, he said, would likely occur in chicken and prepared foods. Tyson could also look for ways to increase its production capacity for pre-packaged fresh beef and pork products supplied to retail grocery chains.
Beyond AdvancePierre, Tyson has moved aggressively to expand its product offerings in the retail and foodservice space. Three years ago, it spent nearly $8 billion to buy Hillshire Brands, bringing into the fold popular meat brands such as Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs. And despite making a name for itself in pork, beef and chicken, the company entered the plant-based meat market last October after it took a 5% stake in Beyond Meat.
Hayes, who has only been at the helm of Tyson since Dec. 31, 2016, has made a clear commitment to long-term growth and transforming the company...