Discipline boosts earnings for Pilgrim's Pride

by Keith Nunes
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GREELEY, COLO. — Chicken processor Pilgrim’s Pride has transitioned from a loss of approximately $120 million during the first quarter of fiscal 2011 to net income of $39,173,000, equal to 18c per share on the common stock, during the first quarter of fiscal 2012.

Sales during the first quarter of 2012 were $1,888,773,000, a slight decline compared with the same period during the previous year.

Like other meat protein processors, Pilgrim’s Pride’s results have been buffeted by volatile input costs, but the company has taken steps to manage the volatility, said Bill Lovette, chief executive officer.

“We’ve accomplished a lot over the past year and are clearly headed in the direction we want to be,” he said. “This quarter confirms our belief — the industry can be profitable even at varying grain price points given the right focus on discipline.”

He added that future profitability will require Pilgrim’s Pride to value the whole bird and not rely on high breast meat prices to carry the company’s margin.

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