Pilgrim’s Pride reports pre-tax profit drop

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

CEO Bill Lovette: Pilgrim's Pride will be a "much stronger player" moving forwards
CEO Bill Lovette: Pilgrim's Pride will be a "much stronger player" moving forwards

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Mexico’s second-largest poultry producer – US-owned Pilgrim’s Pride – has reported a fall in pre-tax profits for the first quarter of 2016 after a “challenging” winter.

Pre-tax profits dropped by 42.2% to $188.8m in the first quarter of the year, down from $327.6m when compared with first quarter results from 2015.

Pilgrim Pride’s CEO Bill Lovette said the company’s growth strategy will “allow us to deliver less volatility and higher earnings to our shareholders over time​”.

Lovette also said he was “excited​” to announce Pilgrim’s Pride will upgrade one of its existing poultry facilities to produce organic chicken certified by the US Department of Agriculture.

Sales decline

We are committed to deploy valuable resources, when necessary, to accelerate our growth by offering creative solutions to fulfil emerging consumer demand preference trends for more natural products such as ABF (antibiotic-free) and organic chicken,”​ said Bill Lovette in a press statement on Thursday 28 April.

Net sales declined by 4.5% to $1.96bn in the first quarter, sliding from $2.05bn in first quarter of 2015. Other financial highlights from Pilgrim’s results show free cash flow of $141m and improvements in the US and Mexican markets.

Growth ‘vision’

Our US and Mexican businesses improved sequentially in Q1 following a challenging Q4, putting us in a strong position for Q2,​” added Lovette. “While market conditions contributed to the improvement, our well-balanced portfolio played a key factor in delivering the improved Q1 performance since we were able to leverage the strength in specific market segments while minimising the impact of the others.​”

Lovette said the business continues to see “improvements in market conditions” in Mexico and plans to be a “much a much stronger player in all geographies​”.

He also said its “vision of sustainable growth remains intact​” for its prepared food division. “With the well-regarded Pierce brand playing a central role and the addition of a new fully-cooked line at our Moorefield, West Virginia complex scheduled for completion late this year, we are on track to expand margins and increase our footprint to new accounts where we did not have prior presence.​"

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