Pilgrim's Pride sales slide during Q4, fiscal 2015

by Ryan McCarthy
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GREELEY, Colo.–Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. reported its fourth fiscal quarter ending Dec. 27, 2015
numbers on Feb. 10 and the performance of some business segments did not reflect the progress that was made in fiscal 2014.

For the fourth quarter of 2015, Pilgrim’s recorded net sales of $1.96 billion, falling more than seven percent from the same period last year of $2.11 billion. Revenue for the quarter slipped to $2.0 billion this year versus $2.1 billion the previous year. In terms of net income for the quarter, the company reported $63.1 million compared to $167.2 million last year. This led to adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $ 0.26 a decline from $ 0.83 in the same period last year.

For the fiscal 2015 revenue of $8.2 billion was reported, down from $8.6 billion the previous year. 

Bill Lovette, Pilgrim's Pride
Bill Lovette, CEO of Pilgrim's Pride

“Our case-ready and small-bird operations continued to deliver strong results in spite of challenges in the export markets, while the weakest chicken cutout in the past five years continued to impact the commodity segments of our business, as well as our Mexico operations,” stated Bill Lovette, CEO of Pilgrim’s.

“Despite the headwinds, our team managed to deliver margins that are above periods when prices were at similar levels. Our performance is commendable and strongly validates the benefits of our strategy.”

Lovette went on to say the company paid out $1.5 billion in a special dividend, acquired additional Mexican operation to “improve our geographic diversification and competitiveness in one of the strongest emerging markets” and repurchased $99.2 million in shares.

The company’s stock price opened lower, at $19.99 per share in early morning trading, but had rebounded to over $21 by mid-morning.

“To further support these initiatives and maximize return on capital, we have approved a targeted capital spending deployment for 2016, which enhances our growth prospects, improves our ability to partner with key customers and supports their growth,” Lovette said.

“Additionally, our team has identified $185 million in operational improvements for 2016, to build on the over $1 billion in cumulative improvements we have made to the business in the last five years. We are committed to reinvesting our strong cash flow generation back into the business with the goal of more closely aligning with this strategy and optimizing our capital allocation, while remaining on track on the relentless pursuit of operational excellence.”

The Greeley, Colo.-based JBS USA Holdings, Inc. holds a 75.3 percent controlling interest in Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation.

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