Pilgrim's Pride grilled barbecue chicken leg quarters
Improved efficiencies and sales mix opportunities should benefit Pilgrim's in the future.

GREELEY, Colo. – A drag on quarterly production volumes didn’t stop Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. from posting second-quarter profits. The unit of Sao Paulo, Brazil-based JBS SA reported earnings advanced 27 percent to $241.5 million compared to $190.4 million in the year-ago period.

“The business continues to generate strong cash flows and our team remains relentless in finding additional opportunities to improve our operations and build competitive advantages,” CEO Bill Lovette said in a statement. “We are on target to achieve $200 million in operational improvements for the year. During Q2 we completed investment projects at two of our plants that negatively impacted quarterly production volumes, but should result in improved efficiencies and enhanced sales mix opportunities.”

Sales for the quarter were $2.05 billion, compared to $2.19 billion in the second quarter of 2014. The company reported adjusted earnings per share of 94 cents in the second quarter, an increase from 73 cents a year ago. Pilgrim’s reported EBITDA increased 26 percent to $425.8 million, or a 20.7 percent margin.

“The vision and diversification strategy that we have implemented over the past few years are creating an opportunity for us to keep our strong performance in different market conditions and with lower volatility than any specific segment,” Lovette said. “In addition, our growth in Mexican operations through acquisition and greenfields will complement our existing facilities in the region, and make us a stronger player by improving our geographical coverage and serve the future growing needs of that market.”

An earnings call is scheduled for July 30. Pilgrim’s stock closed 1.46 percent higher at $20.11 on July 29. MEAT+POULTRY.com will be posting additional details of Pilgrim's second quarter performance.