Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN), the world's largest meat processing company, reported Monday its third-quarter earnings fell 18.6 percent from a year ago, as charges for a legal settlement and a plant closing and slow pork sales depressed results.

The meat producer reported earnings of $131 million, or 36 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30 compared with $161 million, or 45 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

Revenue rose to $6.7 billion from $6.6 billion a year ago on strong chicken and beef sales.

The company said that earnings reflected $33 million it had to pay in a legal settlement involving its live swine operations. The earnings also include $10 million in poultry plant closings that the company is shuttering to enhance operating efficiency.

Tyson estimated this decreased earning by 8 cents per share. The company said it estimates it outlook for fiscal year 2005 earnings per share to be between 95 cents and $1.05.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for earnings of 37 cents a share for the quarter and $1.10 a share for the year.

"The chicken segment performed well, and beef and prepared foods improved compared to the first half of the year, but our pork results were disappointing," chairman and chief executive John Tyson said.

"We made progress on our effort to improve our operating efficiencies. However, we also expect the fourth quarter to be more challenging."