GREELEY, Colo. – Pilgrim's Pride Corp. reported a fourth quarter profit of $143.4 million, or 55 cents per share, compared to $22.8 million, or 9 cents per share in the year ago period.

Net sales for the quarter totaled $2.05 billion, a decline from $2.2 billion. The prior year included an extra week. Full-year results include net sales of $8.4 billion. Pilgrim's net income for the year was $549.6 million, or $2.12 per weighted average share.

"Three years ago our company began executing a strategy to create shareholder value and improve capital structure by partnering with key customers, relentless pursuit of operational excellence and growing our value added exports. During this period, we grew our sales by 22 percent while increasing our profitability, clearly demonstrating that this strategy is working as evidenced by this year's strong free cash flow generation" stated Bill Lovette, Pilgrim's CEO.

"Our team fully understands that our company is going through a 'Revolution of Rising Expectations' and we continue to drive accountability deeper, setting targets to achieve the highest standards for every aspect of our business. We continually emphasize that being better than average is not good enough as we strive to be the best managed and most respected company in our industry.

Cash flows from operations for our fourth quarter were $281.8 million reaching $878.5 million for the year, adding strength to our balance sheet and providing Pilgrim's with a competitive start to 2014. Our ending net debt position was $307.1 million, which is 0.4 times our trailing twelve months' EBITDA of $800.4 million. This robust capital structure will provide us with the financial strength essential to pursuing the next stages of our growth strategy."

In November, the company announced plans to close its poultry processing business inBoaz, Ala., and expand its operations in Russellville, Ala., and Douglas, Ga., to absorb the processing capacity. The company said the decision to close the Boaz operations would enable the company to optimize its operational network and efficiently deploy resources and capital to facilities with improved infrastructure.